So there I was running around this weekend in LotRO and a little bit in WoW. Each of my characters in each game had their craft node radar on so they could see the nodes pop and run to mine them when convenient. Typical MMO fare at this point.
Wait a minute. Ore which can be refined into metal just randomly pops out of the earth (and then dissapears)? I mean, this isn’t Bog Iron or meteorites. You don’t just find them laying around FFS.
I appreciate the effort and the “concession” to game play, but lets face it. Someone phoned it in on the mining. Consider leather or hides. Better hides come from more extraordinary beasts that you encounter in your travels through the virtual world. Kill it. Skin it. ‘Nuff said.
Herbalism. The paradigm works for that. Specific plants found in different climes randomly occurring sure, I’ll buy that.
So why is it so hard to adapt mining or wood collection (“Forestry” in LotRO-speak) to something other than the random node model? If I’m a forester and I’ve got an axe, damn sure I’m headed to the woods, not running across the barren expanses of the North Downs or Lone Lands looking for branches that SOMEONE must have dropped (because I don’t see no damned trees). Nor do I see some geologic uplift that accompanies that Rich Iron node that popped in the middle of the farmer’s field…
Now I’m all for balance in gameplay, but part of fantasy (and sci fi too for that matter) is some relationship to the reality we are familiar with. A sword is a sword, a bear is a bear. It reinforces the immersion.
So why not start out as a novice minor and go work The Man(tm)’s mines to get crafting experience? Doesn’t Ironforge or Thorin’s Halls have some full fledged industrial mining operation going on nearby? The area around Goldshire is chock full of mines (you no take candle, though). Likewise how many times do you run through Silverdeep Mine outside Thorin’s Halls. Why not adopt a sharecropper model for working these mines (i.e., the player would keep a percentage of what they produced with the rest going to the owner of the mine)? Why not learn into the true prospecting skill where you learn to detect likely mineral concentrations and ultimately how to build your own hardrock mine–in a place that made sense.
Sure, it wouldn’t be instant, but if you had to build a mine and mine it for a while (as long as you could haul all the ore) it would sure make mining feel a lot more like mining rather than say, herbalism. Or maybe the better paradigm is fishing in most MMOs or perhaps farming in LotRO, or asteroid mining in Eve– go to a specific location, perform a series of skill based acts and you are rewarded with a harvest of useable ore which you can then refine.
Panning for rare metals in streams, hardrock mining, gem finding and yes, even perhaps locating Bog Iron.
Likewise, why not grow into the fine art off silviculture. Need lumber? go find a forest of the type you’re looking for, set up a lumber camp and mill. Certainly not inexhaustible supplies, but all kinds of rate limiting devices can be used– tool repair, hired labor that must be paid, etc.
Quite frankly, I’m amazed that LotRO (home of the farming profession) didn’t implement something like this. Somebody do this… Please.