Yet Another Smithing Suggestion (YASS?)

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N.tony

Recruit
WBNWVC
I've seen several suggestions to smithing going around since EA launch, but some things that I'd like modified I haven't seen yet. So here we are...

Stamina​

This is the obvious one - locking stamina replenishment to staying in cities is not fun. You're basically asking the player to stop playing and do the most boring thing possible (sit there and do nothing). This is hardly a good gamedesign decision, especially in a sandbox game.

There are two straightforward ways of changing the situation - you can modify the way the stamina is replenished, or you can modify the way the stamina is spent. Replenishment can be allowed during march with, maybe, lower rate than in the city - I think I already saw that in some mods. The spending of stamina can be adjusted by a flat bonus from Smithing perk, like a lot of other perks affect the related stats.

If you're thinking of a more major overhaul, you could also replace the stamina altogether with some notion of "tiredness". It would have the "steady state" value for the activity (resting = 0% tired, marching = 20% tired, sieging = 30% tired etc), and the actual tiredness score that would converge to the current steady state every game tick with certain rate.
Then, say, if you're injured, this steady state can also be increased by half the missing health (i.e. +50% when you have no health, +25% when you're 50% healthy, etc). And certain actions would change the tiredness level immediately - say, a battle/championship would up it by +20%.

Let's illustrate it with an example: imagine that you've been marching long enough (and converged to your 20% tiredness level), but right before entering the city you caught a band of looters (+20% immediate tiredness) and dropped the health down to 50% (+25% tiredness steady state). This means that immediately after the battle your tiredness has reached 40% but your flatrate is now 20%+25%=45%. So, while marching you will get even more tired, but as soon as you get to the city, your steady state will change to 0% + 25% from the injury, and you'll start resting (and healing)

This could also be tied to some skills/perks (maybe in athletic, medicine, weapon skills, etc) that affect steady state and/or rate of change. There could also be activities that affect it - say, paying for visiting a bathhouse in the city to immediately reduce the tiredness

So, for smithing activities you can have immediate tiredness costs similar to current stamina costs. But again, this could be reduced by the base smithing skill value. Unlike stamina, the tiredness can also be connected to the smithing outcome itself - you can use it as a multiplier on forging difficulty (i.e. an 80% tired person would need a smithing skill of 1.8x the normal value), as a multiplier on needed materials, as a damper (1 - tiredness) on smithing XP, etc

The tiredness value can also then be used in the rest of the game - from how well you communicate (in the charming-related checks) to how fast you move on foot or your weapon damage.

Smithing XP​

This is another aspect that might be improved, in my view. From what I gathered, you have a fixed value of XP for smelting/refining, and a value of XP for crafting a weapon that only depends on the weapon's difficulty. So, when you get a new character with smithing = 1 and make him create tier-5 sword with max length, he'll get powerleveled in one go. And this both makes little sense gameplay-wise as well as "realism"-wise.

I would propose to reward the most for making weapons of your smithing skill rating. This can be adjusted by introducing the term
Code:
C = |weapon_difficulty - smithing_skill|
and then use it to calculate a damping factor on XP gain
Code:
damping_factor = exp[-L*C^2]
For example, if L is set to 0.001, then you will get only 20% of the XP if the weapon you craft is either 40 easier or 40 harder than your current smithing skill:
w7RqIoD.png

My reasoning for this is the following: if you're a decent smith, making very easy recipes is not going to help you improve your skill much. And if you're trying to make something way beyond your skill level, you will also not learn much, because at that point you don't understand anything about what you're doing. So, there's a sweet-spot right at the limit of your abilities, which makes you learn the fastest.

Because there's already an exponential growth of XP needed to advance to higher levels, you can also be more generous in the base XP gains for forging weapons - this additional damping factor will keep people smithing the "right" recipes for their skill.

Smithing Recipes​

Another part that's a bit too random to be enjoyable is the way you obtain recipe pieces. I think you've definitely put some safeguards in place to not gain too many recipes from mass-breaking a bunch of rusty pitchforks, but I feel that in the latest patches the game is way too stingy with giving new recipes.

I would again emphasize the need to tie together the smithing with the rest of the game - people were already making suggestions about interacting with ironmongers in towns, making them share their recipes with you would be an easy option.

Learning the "correct" parts from the weapons you dismantle is also something that lies on the surface. Maybe this can also be tied together with the yield - the more components you already know, the higher the chance that you will extract all the metal from dismantling. And the less components you know, the higher the chance you'll learn them from smelting (at the cost of "wasting" more materials by dismantling them).

Trading forged weapons​

The current price, derived purely from weapon damage, is very exploitable and makes little sense. Some people (like ItalianSpartacus, for example) propose to calculate the price based on several relevant characteristics as follows
Code:
price = C_1 * X_1/X_1max + ... + C_n * X_n/X_nmax
where X_i are the characteristics you got, X_imax are the best theoretical values for given weapon type and C_i are the weighting factors (say, damage is worth ~3 times more than weapon reach, or something like that)

What I'd propose is again a more "explainable" approach: the price should be based on
  • the raw materials used for its production (BOM costs?)
  • crafting quality
  • "ubiquity", how similar is the weapon looking to the weapons already existing in the game
The first two are clear, the third one makes sense, because people will probably value less a weapon that combines the parts from different types, since it "looks weird". This way, you'll have the best chances selling "common" weapons, which will make setting their price easier, and for the mix-and-matched weapons you'll only earn good money if the overall quality will be that much higher.

And once more, it would be great if trading forged weapons would be somehow linked to the rest of the game - for example, selling "common" swords would count towards trading XP, or if in the towns/castles you own you could offload weapons to equip your militia?

Basically, a common theme in my suggestions is improving the "explainability" of the mechanics related to smithing, and incorporate it more into the base game. Hopefully it at least gives some food for thought
 

McDadden

Recruit
Well put. I know nothing about code, but it definitely adds food for thought for the devs while they work on the overhaul. I really agree about learning parts. It's so annoying to be over 300 smithing but I can't make the sword I want because I don't know the right recipes. All while having crafted dozens if not hundreds of swords in the process.
 

Berzerker Jay

Stamina: I'm fine with stamina requiring that you stop and rest. The idea that you replenish stamina by exerting yourself is a bit unrealistic -- it works the opposite in reality. This is actually the only limit on what is currently a reasonably unbalanced aspect of the game, so I don't think we should aim to make it less balanced by making it less realistic.You can easily rest outside of the towns, though, out in the field or in villages or in castles too.

XP: I like the idea on xp, as that's a major problem with the system now. What I wonder about such a hard line in it is that it gets hard to line up your difficulty scores once you get higher up. My thoughts on this solution are that mistakes (the red scores on the final forging screen) should negatively impact xp-gain, and greatly, while the improvements on the design reflect some greater understanding and give a small bit extra xp.

Recipes: I have a simple idea that I believe resolves this, though I definitely would like to see the smelting system be much more likely to offer the same or similar parts to what's being broken down. My idea is that the recipes learned, regardless, are matched to the character's Smithing skill. So if your Smithing skill is below 50, you might only unlock Tier-I recipes. Once you reach 250, that's when you'll start understanding more complicated and nuanced ideas in the craft, when you'll be able to apply the more complex knowledge of the craft into your own. This would still justify the value of some high-tier weapons in shops, while also keeping the player to creating weapons that have difficulties more near their Smithing level. This change alone would help address a lot of the system's problems.

Trading Weapons: This is a complicated one. The weapons we're creating have prices that also reflect what similar weapons cost in shop. If we create a Tier-VI weapon, others like it sell for at least tens of thousands, and the more effective ones for hundreds of thousands. Where I think this could be greatly improved is in shopkeepers punishing the player for defects in the weapon, (the red scores we get while crafting,) and the price drops drastically for even a single -1 score. The weapons then that are out of the league of the smith creating them then are worth more close to their smelting value. I think that would be more realistic, and I was totally surprised when I first played the game and found the junk sword I didn't even see as worth wielding was seen as worth so much money to the shopkeeper. Inversely, have the shopkeepers reward fine and masterwork quality more, and pay accordingly. This and what I mention about recipes above would actually bring the entire system to a place where it could require only fine tuning in other areas.
 

Berzerker Jay

On top of this, I'd like to see the crafting require that the party wait while the smiths work. That would prevent players from instantly manifesting a dozen or so high-priced weapons all at once, when that kind of work should take a week to actually complete in the forge.

The tyrant in me wants to also see us have to pay for access to a forge we don't own. Maybe faction-owned may be different, or based on good relations with either the relevant notable or owner of the settlement. Maybe it could be added as something that can be built in castles then, too, but my point is that the player should make ownership of a forge a priority achievement in their playthrough if this is the path they wish to follow. I'd actually enjoy pursuing that goal -- easiest way to accomplish it would be to buy a Smithy workshop. But of course, the forge in town can always be made available...for a price. :wink:
 

N.tony

Recruit
WBNWVC
Stamina: I'm fine with stamina requiring that you stop and rest. The idea that you replenish stamina by exerting yourself is a bit unrealistic -- it works the opposite in reality. This is actually the only limit on what is currently a reasonably unbalanced aspect of the game, so I don't think we should aim to make it less balanced by making it less realistic.You can easily rest outside of the towns, though, out in the field or in villages or in castles too.
I fail to understand any of the points here.
Is marching with an army so exerting that your arms can't recover from all the hammer swinging? If that's the case, why is your stamina not getting depleted from fighting? Why is your fighting performance not affected if you have 0 smithing stamina?
What is so unbalanced in allowing the smithing stamina to replenish at a reduced rate while you're playing the rest of the game?
Standing still outside of a town doesn't replenish your stamina. Waiting in a village doesn't replenish your stamina. Waiting while your siege equipment is being placed doesn't replenish your stamina.
 

Berzerker Jay

I fail to understand any of the points here.
Is marching with an army so exerting that your arms can't recover from all the hammer swinging? If that's the case, why is your stamina not getting depleted from fighting? Why is your fighting performance not affected if you have 0 smithing stamina?
What is so unbalanced in allowing the smithing stamina to replenish at a reduced rate while you're playing the rest of the game?
Standing still outside of a town doesn't replenish your stamina. Waiting in a village doesn't replenish your stamina. Waiting while your siege equipment is being placed doesn't replenish your stamina.
Waiting, period, replenishes your stamina. I have literally used the time spent waiting during a siege to recover my stamina for smithing.

I do agree that fighting should also deplete stamina, and in general that the stamina system should be expanded and made consequential on how your character exerts themself.
 
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