Thursday, July 30

Crafting Survey

A crafting Survey
One fine bored evening I decided that it might be a good idea to create a crafting survey to find out if there are others out there, like me who want that something more from crafting, a forum post wouldn't do as I wanted it to be a little bit more factual than subjective, a survey seemed the best way to go. The yammobs rallied to my aid with some great suggestions and off I went to google docs to get the ball rolling. The crafters in the MMO world took it to their heart and it only took a few short days to reach the 200 response mark I initialy wanted to aim for. A big thankyou to those that took the time to fill it in and thankyou for both the positive feedback and the discussions that ensued.
While it would be nice to think that this could reflect the gamer community I am the first to admit that isn't true, very few with no interest in crafting would have taken the time to fill it in, this then reflects the experience and desires of a small cross section of the crafting community in MMOs, nothing more, nothing less.

The basics

Considering that the majority of responses came from crafters it is no surprise that most people felt that crafting played an important role in their game play experience and that the majority wanted to be able to max multiple crafting professions.

These results show that most crafters would like to spend over 50% of their game time involved in crafting yet currently the majority spend less than 20% of their game time crafting, that says alot about the cuyrrent state of crafting in MMOs, crafting sadly needs much more attention from developers than it's getting.

For the question Which MMO's with crafting systems have you played/are currently playing? Other games listed included: Darkfall (2), Aion (7), Pirates of the Burning Sea (4), Horizons (4), Neocron (2), Ryzom (2), UO (9), A Tale in the Desert (3), WAR (2), Puzzle Pirates (2), Planetside, Wurm Online (2), Wizard 101, AO (3), Istaria (2), Legend of Mir (2), Ragnarok Online (3), GW (2) - even though it has no crafting that I know of, CoH (2), Cabal, Asheron's Call , EQ , Dragonica, Ashen Empires, Voyage Century, Spellborn.

The number in brackets represents the number who opted for that game if greater than 1.

For the question What is your current main MMO ? a significant amount answered for 'Other' that they were waiting for a new MMO (Aion featured highly).

I always thought that most PvP players wouldn't hold much interest in crafting, which is down to my experience of games tendencies to provide the best PvP gear through progression rather than crafting, I was pleased to see a healthy number from the PvP community represented. While the majority of crafters spend substantial amounts ingame the figure for less than 5hrs per week shows that for casual players crafting still holds some appeal. The majority of crafters seemed to have taken part in light role playing at some time or another, are crafters than generally more creative or are RP players more into crafting? That might be interesting to explore further in a later survey.

Crafting Comparison

I asked people to rate their crafting experience in the games they have played

The choice for other showed that Ultima Online was rated highly by several respondants, Aion (still in beta) also had a healthy showing. SWG recieved the highest ratings from those who had played it, forum comments have me believe that the current crafting system in SWG isn't as good as the original system, that system recieved nothing but praise and made me wish i had 'been there'. The question itself was flawed as the spreadsheet included multiple games chosen as 'Other' making it hard to see which games were being rated.

Quality of crafted items

As it currently stands thinking on quality of crafted items seems to be 'better than world drops, lesser than raid drops' in most MMOs, it's nice then to see that given a choice crafters would like the ability to go one step further and have the ability to improve on those raid drops by crafting upgrades or additions, that choice doesnt take away from the 'carrot on a stick' that is 'phat lewt' for raiders and keeps the crafters healthily employed with new recipes/rare materials to seek out.

Some of the answers for 'Other' included:
"Items shouldn't improve statistically so there should be not best teir of items at all"
"Tiers of items increasing from "better than equivalent greens" to "better than raid drops" where each tier is progressively difficult and needs rarer materials"
"there should be a balance some 'top end' items better than or comperable or worse than 'end game' items."
"Standard crafted gear should be equal to gear given as quest rewards. There should be lootable recipes for crafters whcih yield items equal in quality to the best lootable items in the game."
"equal to both raid/world but with a unique quality that fits the mmo that could not be found in raid/world equip. etc. run speed, makes food, or something fun"
"Raiding sucks. All items obtained in the world by killing things should be pretty much random while crafted items should have reliable stats based on the skills of the crafter and choices he made during the crafting process."

In retrospect more work can be done with that question and include things such as the social aspect of crafted items.


Most of us craft initialy to suit our own needs, crafting for others and profit came a close second, those of us in a guild seem to be equaly split between crafting for ourselves and meeting the needs of the guild. One of the reasons listed for 'Other' was the ability to create unique items only available for crafters, I suspect that our desire to be unique in our chosen vuirtual world might be a good motivator.

Luck ?

It seems a small majority enjoy the luck element of crafting, most games have it, maybe it's because it's something we are used to and comfortable with rather than something we positively embrace? Most felt that our chances of a positive outcome should scale and provide us with a higher success rate as we become masters of our craft.


For 'Other' players resonded with a desire for meaning and variety in the progression while a few wondered why there needed to be any quest content related to crafting 'crafting in itself should be enough'.


Cyrrently most of us feel that gathering ranges from a boring grind to something that is at best 'passable' very few of us find great enjoyment in it. Most of us would like to see a degree of dynamic content while gathering, the kind of content talked about included incredibly hard to reach nodes (dungeons), fighting off NPCs, environmental challenges and PvP.


One of the more interesting things to come out of comments for 'Other' when asked how people would like to gain recipes was through 'research and experimentation' which I feel while being probably very difficult to implement would provide a very rich and diverse crafting experience. Some also felt that the concept of recipes itself was redundant.

It's good to see that most players felt there should be a synergy between the professions, no one should be 100% reliant on someone else but a degree of reliance allows for added diversity for crafters and should be good for the economy.


When posing the question is crafting bad for the economy? I struggled to think of ways that it is, it seems likely to be a more subjective answer based on the users personal experience, I know i've felt that prices have got out of hand at various stages in a games evolvement but ultimately things seem to even themselves out, it may well have been a redundant question...

The Crafting Process

While little or no input during the crafting process is good for the casual player, attend to the kids, make a cup of tea, phone mum etc, it looks like most crafters want a fairly high degree of input during the process, watching success/fail progress bars just isn't enough, we want more interaction. Most feel that the visual elements of crafting and it's location are important, it does help for reasons of immersion. This is another area I'd like to expand on in a subsequent survey.

Age and gender of respondants

If you want to view the full spreadsheet of results you can do so here

The survey is closed for now while I evaluate everything I've learned from this initial experience. I will edit and relaunch the survey at a later date with the aim of getting a larger number of responses.


  1. Slightly larger font next time please :-)

    Control questions:
    The importance is shown by the question of "How long have you been playing MMO's". It appears that about 75% of your participants are either UO/EQ veterans or have fibbed on this question.

    A control question regarding some detail of crafting in EQ and UO would have covered this. Then again, would you consider anyone fibbing here to be unreliable for the rest of the questions or not?

    Discreet questions:
    If a question where the response 'Other' is used by more than 10% of the participants either the question was phrased wrong by not being discreet enough or you forgot one very important option. If the latter that should be obvious by 90% of 'other' pointing to that answer. In which case you could simply add it as a result with a note.
    If the 'other' result contains something of everything your question was to wide. Technically its result should not be counted.
    The question "What is your current main MMO" is a prime example. "I'm waiting for a new one" could be considered a result even though it wasn't listed. I do think the question was discreet enough in its own right, but it would have been better as if "awaiting a new one" would have been an answer with a follow up question where you could mention which one. Would be interesting to know what MMO crafters are awaiting most. And if there's a difference between crafters/non crafters in that regard.

    Did you present this as a questionaire for crafters specifically? I belatedly realized you didn't really add an "do you consider yourself a crafter Yes/No" question. So you might have a poluted population if you consider your data to reflect the interests of crafters. There's also no control group this way. So you can't really make hyptheses on a crafter / non-crafter basis.

    You state that crafting being bad for an economy would be purely subjective. Yet the question how vital is it to the economy is nothing but subjective as well. Ideally both "it's teh evil" and "it's awesomesauce" should have been incorporated into one question. But since your questionaire is slanted towards people who like crafting....

    Interesting data bits:
    - Quaint dip in the rating of 9 on the importance of crafting to the participants.I think this is why you'll see most questionaires use a 1-5 scale rather than a 1-10 or at least use 5 grades in the results.
    - Interesting Spread ow WOW / everything else. Wonder if it means crafters are not representative in that they play other MMO's than the Big Gorilla, or that most MMO players are promiscuous. COuld you add more than one game as an answer?
    - it'd be interesting to map the results of how much fun it is to gather materials to games. Also I just realize I'm missing a when do you harvest/craft? question, with answers like: As primary money making activity - while waiting for group - as a relaxation method - For the fun of it. Ok bad wording, I'm just making this up as I go along.

  2. I had lots of fun answering this survey. Hope you can improve the survey via the data we put in. :)

    Thank you. :)

  3. What I think might be one of the coolest thing from this survey is the large number of responses you got. It is great to see a large number of players care for crafting and took their time to tell you about it. I wish we could do something with this data. Could you perhaps email it to customer services representatives of some of the development houses?

    The responses show that crafters, or at least those that filled in the survey are not really the same as the majority of people I meet in game. Just like the RP post, I think there is a very large group of players who are bored with the direction developers are taking our beloved MMOs. Not sure 'they' are listening though.