Fallen Earth: QotW#35: The goods on crafting, drops, and economy - and a little lore!

| 28 Nov 2007 14:26

Fallen Earth's weekly feature is back, and Canticle delivered the goods about auction halls, item drops, crafting, instances and GlobalTech's role within the game's universe. Above all, we get an update on the development progress:

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It's time for another batch of questions! Well, more importantly, it's a batch of answers to those questions from lead developer Lee Hammock:

As always, work progresses. This week we're working on Devon Township, The Dump, Aesterly, Blaine, Windfarm, and Waste Farm. Most of Northfields is laid out in terms of geography, so the designers are now coming in behind the artists and putting in all the NPCs, missions, critters, harvest nodes, etc.

1. Will there be an organized barter entity/location to handle player market transactions? If so, how is it structured (fees, inflation, etc)?

We're working on a centralized economic system. We started with an auction house, and ended up with something much bigger. We intend to have a shared central market where players can put items up for sale, and both players and NPC merchants will buy them from this central market. NPC merchants will buy their stock from this system and charge PCs for them according to the prices at which the goods were acquired. This means some merchants will run out of goods if there is a shortage in the market, while other merchants will drop prices if a certain good floods the market. Other factors, such as distance from the nearest barter town or availability of local commodities, will also affect merchants' prices. NPCs will also occasionally put up goods for sale, allowing us to keep the market from going too far in either direction. We want to create an interesting economic system, not a huge headache for players.

2. How will the remnants of GlobalTech play into the game?

The vestiges of GlobalTech are everywhere. From the local Waffle Warehouse to emergency bunkers created by paranoid executives who saw the apocalypse coming, reminders of GlobalTech's influence permeate the setting. A number of ongoing storylines involve GlobalTech and how it has shaped the history of the Province.

3. Lee mentioned that the game would feature frequent item drops; how will the game maintain the impression of scarcity if drops/resources are abundant?

Every item in the game has a rarity attribute, which determines how often that item will drop from an appropriate treasure table. This means that certain materials will be abundant, but others will be very rare. The treasure tables also ensure that chickens don't drop swords. All of our treasure tables use relative weights to determine the frequency of drops. Item rarities include Common, Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, and Unique. Unique items aren't actually unique (so the name makes the writers cringe), but they are extremely rare. Things like Ragged Cotton or Questionable Water are Common, while Scrap Alloy Steel is Uncommon, Ragged Kevlar is Rare, and Superior Titanium is Very Rare. As an example of how the rarity levels work, 100 Common items will drop for every 1 Rare item on average.

The base value of an item is determined using a formula relating the rarity of the item to the level of the item (i.e., the point at which it is primarily used in crafting; there's not a lot of kevlar in starting tradeskill recipes). A unit of Scrap Wood or Tainted Water has a base value of one chip, while a unit of Intact Computer Chips is closer to 15,000 chips. These base values are only starting points as the market will fluctuate based on supply and demand.

4. Can you tell us about some of the raw materials used for crafting (cotton was mentioned), and some of the characteristics of those items?

Almost every type of component in the game comes in four quality levels. For example, Cotton comes in Ragged Cotton, Frayed Cotton, Cotton, and Pristine Cotton. Iron comes in Scrap Iron, Salvaged Iron, Iron, and Superior Iron. These versions are of increasing level, value, and rarity. Many materials can be made by combining several units of a lower quality level, such as making some Frayed Cotton out of several pieces of Ragged Cotton. Also, some components are used to make other components, such as Coal and Iron being used to make Steel (which, when combined with Geologic Chemicals, makes Alloy Steel). It's fairly simplistic compared to the real science involved, but we wanted to avoid having a periodic table of components and needing a degree in chemistry to craft items.

5. If possible, can you elaborate on the crafting process a bit more: experimentation for improvement, probability of item construction failure, etc?

Experimentation allows you to build items that, when used, lets you learn new knowledges. For example, if you learned something like Basic Internal Combustion, you could build a Simple Engine Experiment. When you completed the Simple Engine Experiment, you could use it to learn Intermediate Internal Combustion. This system allows you to unlock new knowledges (and thus recipes) without going to trainers or buying trainer books.

There is no chance of item construction failure. We think it would be way too frustrating to spend real time constructing items only to have them fail.

6. Can you give us any detail on any instances? We have heard lots about towns and such. Would love to hear about an instance, general story behind it....

Once we have the art overhaul finished and a good presentable space, we'll do a QotW about one of the early instances, probably the CoG Silo.

7. Is there a list of milestones you all are tracking against? Not interested in dates, just a list of milestones y'all have surpassed, and what is next on the horizon.

Generally, we organize things by sector. For example, in content we're currently working on Northfields, for the most part, but work on Kaibab Forest, the Grainway, and Siller's Canyon is going on in other areas of the company. The tech side of things is not as locationally oriented as they work on the system wherever needed.

8. Can we start to see any specifics? Basic loot tables, item stats, crafting schematics, MOB statistics (abilities, loot tables, etc).

Currently, I don't think we can present loot tables, item stats, or mob stats in a context that they will be really interesting at this point. We don't want to present a lot of numbers (many of which may change through testing) with little context as to what each one means.

9. What is the utility of the Charisma stat ?

It affects merchant prices, what missions you can take, how many shares in NPC-run farms/ranches/mines/factories you can have, your ability with pets, and your Group Tactics skill.

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