Okay, so crafting possibly isn't the most exciting thing about the spectacular upcoming MMO, Guild Wars 2, but it certainly is a thing about it, and ArenaNet have chosen to reveal it today. There will be crafting, and there will be eight disciplines: Weaponsmith (making melee weapons), Huntsman (crafting bows and pistol, as well as torches and warhorns), Artificer (for the fashioning of magical weapons such as staves and scepters), Armorsmith (for heavy armour), Leatherworker (for medium armour), Tailor (for light armour), Jewelcrafter (for rings and necklaces), Cook (for buff-inducing foods). Most of these professions will also be able to upgrade existing items. Characters can choose two of these disciplines at any one time, and these can be changed back and forth, retaining skill level's acquired, for a cost.
More information, and a quick chat with game designer Andrew McLeod, lie below.
As you might expect, crafting takes place at crafting stations around the world, in various towns and settlements. You'll also need to harvest materials and loot gubbins to get the things required for your crafting recipes, which will include exploring to find plants and veins of minerals across the landscape. Interestingly, you don't need the related skills to gather these resources (anyone can do it) and the resource isn't "used up" for other players, so everyone can get their share.
Advancing through crafting requires both persistence - because making stuff levels you up within the profession system - and lots of time spent in the world. Recipes will be discovered as you play, with the most basic being supplied by NPCs, and the rarest turning up in the form of high-level drops. (Although drops aren't, apparently, going to be farmable in the same way that they are in, say, WoW, being sort of reward-based for participation in certain events, instead.)
Anyway, we had a quick word with designer Andrew McLeod to see what else he could tell us about the crafting system:
RPS: Can you tell us a bit about the range and scarcity of recipes? How wide is the selection of items that can be crafted, and how many of those will be extremely rare items?
McLeod: We have a large number of potential recipes, with more and higher-quality recipes being discoverable at higher levels of crafting. The levels of crafted weapons and armors are set up so that you should be able to craft yourself new gear before your previous gear is obsolete. We do plan on having various rare recipes which can be discovered through the discovery system, as well as rare recipes that can be found in harder content like dungeons.
RPS: What about player trade? Can you tell us anything about how that will work in Guild Wars 2? And is crafting more focused on items you will make for yourself, or on production and sale of those items?
Andrew McLeod: Players should be able to level up crafting disciplines through crafting equipment and upgrades that they would use themselves. It isn't our intention for players to have to craft a lot of throwaway items in order to level their crafting. By not requiring players to craft large amounts of excess items in order to gain skill in their crafting professions, players that enjoy crafting should be able to carve out their own corner of the player market easier without having to compete with a glut of items created by players simply trying to level their disciplines.
RPS: Will players who don't take the time to engage in crafting feel left out? Or - perhaps more fairly - what are main benefits that spending time crafting will provide for the players who engage in it?
McLeod: Our crafting system is not intended to provide exclusive rewards to crafters- if a player does not have the time or inclination to craft, they can have a friend or guild member craft for them, or can purchase the desired items from other players. It isn't our intent to add rewards to try and get every player to craft, regardless of whether or not they actually want to. However, crafters should be able to fairly easily keep themselves outfitted in good gear.
RPS: Thanks for your time!