Hey all - PVE player here,
Came here to give my perspective after finally getting around to updating all my production benches and really giving the new economy and smithing a try. This write is probably a couple of months too late to be impactful; however, I’ll start by saying I was very hesitant about the scope of changes since I had set up a system and spent a lot of time into old production logistics (have it down to a science) and spent an unbelievable and inordinate amount of time hunting for each and every cultural armorer out there. It was an a personal achievement that carried weight for me. After reading the changes, I did feel like I had lost something significant with my old setup for something that made the game somewhat easier to get end game gear. With that all said, I stepped away for a bit and came back with an outlook to be impartial and to give the changes a try.
I’m glad I did, because now that I have a firm grasp on how the crafters work, with the help of @Jim1 wiki site, I really enjoy the changes. Surprisingly so.
Here is my breakdown and why I think this is just overall a better system.
After reorganizing my base with all the relevant precision benches with proper thralls set up, it’s more efficient to find the recipes you need and to get logistics moving down the chain of benches. At first, I thought precision benches were too slow, but I think I had some confirmation bias with how fast my old production set up was. It’s (generally) more intuitive and really, other than learning through trial and error what the different smiths do.
Armor recipes were simplified and made more intuitive. How many times did I craft the wrong padding only to realize it later and have to recraft? Enough times to create a box next to my armor bench to stick all the wrong padding for a possible future use.
Crafted weapons are actually good with the right smith. I don’t have have to arm up thralls with world drops. This makes the vanilla or DLC weapons a really good choice (if not better than some legendary world drop variants) and I can pick and choose weapons based on looks and doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on the min/maxing aspect of the game. It’s close enough - short of having 100 swords of croms.
Removing legendary recipes from purge thralls is only a good thing. I’ve been playing on an official server for about 2 years now and in that time I’ve only gotten one blacksmith purge thrall. One. That meant, I was solely relying on a single blacksmith for the steel reinforcement recipe and legendary repair kits. If I didn’t luck out and get that single thrall, I would have spent all my time in the unnamed city grinding for repair kits just to use good weapons, rather than doing things I wanted to do.
I haven’t checked out garrison benches yet, but with precision benches, I don’t feel like recipes are more expensive than they used to be. They are probably about the same if not exactly the same. Someone may be able to point to a recipe that is different old vs. new, but if it is, it’s a nominal change. I was expecting much different recipe values and I am glad it’s roughly if not exactly the same because it doesn’t make the game feel completely different. There may be time variance, but not by much. I’m assuming Garrison are more useful for PVP servers where you need to quickly arm for raids.
Here is my list of items I don’t like or am on the fence about:
[EDIT - There is a recipe in the Alchemist Bench that makes oil which is reasonable in cost. This bullet point was made before I knew this to be the case. I’m leaving this bullet point here for posterity.] Oil is now the rare/most intensive resource to gather (unless there is a trick I don’t know about). I know there has to be a gated resource of some sort, but this one seems a little too gated. From what I’ve read, there was problems with fish trap spam on servers and maybe this change was supposed to address that? I’m glad I have a huge stockpile of oil because, rearming 100 thralls with the updated crafted items with master weapon fittings would have came to a screeching halt. I experimented with the fastest way to get oil production up and what I came up with was spamming compost boxes for grubs and making more fish traps to get grub-to-fish production up faster. It’s very tedious but it can be done with a ton of clicks and doing nothing but babysitting fish traps every a few minutes. And it doesn’t address fish trap spam at all - it’s made it worse for me. Also it’s not fun. But not being fun isn’t a deterrent for someone who needs oil. It’s just going to make them hate playing the game rather than coming to terms that oil isn’t supposed to be plentiful… Unless there is another way to get oil I don’t know about, some other mechanic other than fish trap/compost box spam should be introduced. I’m swimming in alchemical base because they still drop off of bearers which is a little bit of RNG to give your supplies a boost, also most recipes don’t call for too many alchemical base compared to oil recipes. I’m just saying. There is a disparity with oil across the board that doesn’t make too much sense other than making it painful to gather.
I generally didn’t have a problem with the size of the new benches. They are a bit larger, but not by much and after tweaking the base a bit and rebuilding to compensate for floor size, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But the benches look great so it adds a little bit something to the base as well that doesn’t look so sterile like before. I appreciate that.
There was a missed opportunity to rebalance some weapons and armor recipes. I personally love how the whirlwind blades look. I have a few that were built with the legacy values (With master weapon fittings) which are 59dmg 22%pen. I also have another set that was crafted after a different patch with values of 46dmg 12%pen with master weapon fittings which made them go from the best dagger set to basically one of the worst top end choices. After this patch, the recipe with a bladesmith and master weapon fitting went to 53dmg 12%pen (which is an improvement). Any star metal crafted dagger set currently (with master weapon fitting) is 53dmg 22%pen for comparison - so star metal is undeniably better. I feel like the whirlwind blades are in a weird place for something more expensive to craft. They should have been brought up to at least parity with star metal crafted daggers. This is just an example, but any legendary crafted weapon should probably be as good as star metal crafted.
There was also an opportunity to rebalance the temperature system with armorsmith type changes. Let’s face it - locking certain stats to armor makes most of the combat armor unviable for practical game play. Strength and Vitality are king unless you are making a meme build with double jump or taking up archery for some crazy reason. Full stop. I love how the Argossean Phalanx armor set looks. But it will always be subpar when compared to the Blood and Sand Guardian armor. These are basically your only two viable heavy armor choices (Pictish and Hyperborean being in the same place as Argossan, one with less armor value) since heavy armor being your top tier choice in the current meta. However, the guardian set has full protection for all temperatures so there is no reason to use anything else. I can go to the volcano or stand in the middle of the freezing bridge in the highlands and suffer zero consequences with this set. Any meaningful choice other than cosmetic is taken away. We really could have used a system to make a meaningful choice that coincided with crafting changes that could have revolutionized how we look at temperature in this game. As of now, there is no meaningful choice and temperature is rendered pointless because of particular armor sets that are still current meta OP at the same time. There is not downside to the Guardian set whatsoever. It really begs the question, what’s the point of temperature at lvl 60? I think this question needs to be asked and then temperature needs to be reworked. Temperature needs to either be relevant still or acknowledged at lvl 60 you’ve learned to properly cloth yourself and not be as much of a concern (with natural protection against the elements as some sort of level bonus) allowing you to wear all armor sets without concern. I would also be okay with a cold or heat version of each armor set that offers certain protection giving you options - bonus if those sets looked different (example Pictish armor has more or less fur depending on temp type). Something really should be looked at it, because right now temperature feels a bit gimmicky and can be circumvented by using a singular OP armor set, which in my opinion, makes the game a bit boring/bland since I’m locked into a particular look. Thankfully the guardian armor set looks great. Respects to the artists who designed recent armor sets. Wish I could wear some of them with the same confidence as some.
Another critique is that once your blacksmith, armor smith, or carpenter is broken in, you need to rely on the icons to know what they are. Without the wiki, I would have been a bit confused. Some in-game text on the info would be helpful for identifying what type of smith you are looking at. The icons are good, but the lack of information is confusing at first.
Overall, I’m quite happy with these changes and its definitely a step in the right direction. Thanks for the hard work over at Funcom.