This idea is based on a combination of Keith's original ideas that I chopped up to make the tier replacement #2
, and on some belated ideas that came from a number of us in that same thread.
DIFFERENCES FROM CURRENT MODEL
1. The current form of crafting will go away, commodities and rare commodities useless for the time being. Something else could be thought up to do with them, but let's get to that if we actually decide to do something with this general model first. Raw gems will remain (see below).
2. Rather than having the Spellgem Crafting Workbench organized by raw gem and then by commodity, it would be organized by usage category (defensive, melee-range, long-range offensive, powerful-offensive, logistical, etc).
3. When in the Spellgem Loadout screen, you'll also see your "available capacity" in each category. You'll only be able to carry so much melee-range power with you at any given time, for instance. If your current Melee-Range capacity is 400, and Fire Touch and Ice Cross both use 200 of that capacity, then you can carry two of fire touch, or one of each, or whatever. If Death Touch uses 400 capacity of that, you can only carry that spell out of all the Melee-Range options.
4. Most likely there would be ways for you to increase your carrying capacity in the given categories, but only by so much. Probably these effects would be per-player, and probably you could only apply so many of the effects to yourself at once. So if you had something like 40 upgrade points total to ever use, you could choose if you want more melee capacity, more long-range capacity, or whatever. This is essentially design-your-own-class. These might start out pre-allocated at generic values, to make it easy on new players, and then become something you can customize later. Some spells might require more than the default capacity of a given category, for instance, so if you wanted the really awesome melee-range spells you have to give up something else.
5. Raw gems will still be found in underground gem veins, but in much greater quantities. They will also be found in stashes in midsize quanties, and scattered in buildings, like dust currently is, in singles. Each spell that you craft would cost some number of these gems in one or more colors, and the costs might be really inexpensive or really steep depending on how good the spell was. But most will cost multiple gems, making them more currency-like.
6. You're perfectly free to drop items in order to make room for more capacity to craft something new. That won't destroy the gem or anything like that, so eventually you will run into a situation where you've crafted everything but all your stuff is scattered about in bags because you'll not be able to carry it all to one central location. So you'll wind up crafting more copies of stuff you might have used in the past simply for convenience as you get to having a lot of continents.
7. As was already planned, there will be level gating for the spellgems, so it's not like everything is available right from the start. But this would replace any form of gating that you're currently getting from rare commodities or other crafting materials.
8. Every time any player picks up a raw gem, every other player on the server (connected or not) get a copy of that gem without having to go pick it up themselves.
9. To prevent hoarding, there will be a finite cap as to how many raw gems of each color you can have in your inventory at once. Perhaps 999 per color, something like that. Anything that goes over that cap is simply wasted. This is for all the same reasons that there are resource caps in AI War. It needs to be a fairly high cap so that you're not constantly bumping into it, but it also needs to be low enough that you're not just grinding gems at the start of the game in order to get ahead.
10. Likewise, the game might just keep track of how many raw gems have been collected at each chunk level, and have the prevalence of gems really drop a lot after something like 100 gems total (regardless of color) have been collected at that level. Thus creating an inventive to play up in levels if you want more gems than you've been able to get just at the lower levels.
11. Oh, almost forgot: tiers would go away entirely, as in the other two models. So you build a "fireball" spellgem and that's that. It works as it does forever, until you drop it and need a replacement because you forgot where you put it, or until you stop using it because you like Mega-Fireball (or whatever) better.
1. There are quite a few opportunity costs any time you want to change your loadout.
2. Changing your loadout is not that difficult to do, especially early in the game when you only have one settlement in which to drop stuff.
3. Hoarding is thwarted, actually kind of doubly so.
4. Overall the model is pretty familiar to people who have played a variety of capacity-based loadout games in the FPS genre or otherwise. And it should be easier to navigate the crafting screens in this model than it is in the current model.
5. There isn't degradation of goods, so there's not a treadmill-like effect in any form; instead there's a convenience cost since there's difficulty transporting goods between distant locales if I haven't needed a given spellgem for a while.
6. This is extremely multiplayer-safe, because if you've ever been on the server but aren't currently there, you keep getting the goods that everyone else is picking up. So it's easy to keep on with either your current (fully functional) loadout, or you can craft a bunch of stuff with the gems that others gathered for you in your absence. But of course if you stay away for TOO long at a time, you'll find yourself at the caps on raw gems in your inventory and thus losing out on some of the bulk volume of cool new stuff that the others were getting. Which makes sense to me, anyhow.
7. Quite by accident, this introduces a sort of custom class system, which strikes me as really cool. Despite that meaning one more menu screen, I think that's well worth the benefit it creates.
8. This continues to work well with things like wooden platforms and other non-magic goods that players will collect (as now), since it doesn't require global inventory limitations or anything like that.
1. Crafting is in some respects dumbed-down. But in other respects the whole system is made smarter because it makes you make more choices despite the actual act of crafting becoming simpler.
2. We will need to figure out something new and compelling to do with rare commodities and commodities.
3. In general, this is cutting yet a lot more of the stuff that players are currently exploring to find. So we'll have to figure out some other reason for them to explore for this stuff, or some other purpose to use the existing stuff for as noted in #2. Missions will take a lot of the focus off of un-led exploration anyhow, but still we'd like that to be compelling. That said, this could be treated as a separate issue if the actual solution to the crafting/tiers is something that we really like.
All of these ideas about replacing tiers have sounded good to me at first, and then I've started seeing the cracks in the design. Anyway, right now I'm feeling really good about this one and not seeing any major cracks. But what do others think?