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How many new recipes will there be? Edit
There are 24 culture armor recipes. Each recipe makes three pieces of set. Thus for patch 3 we are releasing twelve 6 piece armor sets -- one set per class. There are four culture weapon recipes grouped by geography, and each weapon recipe can make 3 weapons related to that theme. There are a couple of details that I'm going to leave to discovery, that I think players will find interesting.
This is the first iteration of what is currently planned to be a more extensive system, as we want to make small incremental steps in order to both get content out to players, but also validate the direction we want to take. So for patch 3 each class will have only 1 culture armor set it may use. Each weapon type is likewise represented once amongst the culture weapons. To some degree, this first step was designed to be comparatively lightweight. We expect players to find culture weapons and armors to be compelling, and if this is sufficiently the case, that's certainly the necessary feedback to make future iterations increasingly more of a parallel advancement system within crafting that will be more about lore and proper quest driven mechanics.
Will there be level restrictions for culture armors and weapons (e.g. only available for lvl 70 up)? Edit
Three pieces of a given culture armor set are level 78, and the remaining three pieces are level 79. Culture weapons are all level 80. This is intended to be end-game crafted content, however we purposely left ourselves significant headroom for future use.
Will the best recipes be only available as raid loot? Edit
Currently all the culture items are boss-dropped blues. We plan to introduce crafted raid items down the line, but that may or may not be culture gear. At the moment, culture items are intended to fill the crafting niche for end-game content that does not require a guild. However, this may change based on future crafting needs as well as game balance. It will especially have to be re-examined when we look at introducing epic crafted gear.
Just to be clear, there is not yet epic crafted items, but I can say this is being given some design attention. Epic crafted gear may certainly require epic mats, and it might be the case that raids are the only appropriate venue for players to acquire those resources. More about that later, probably after the larger item rebalance initiative.
Will the culture armors and weapons more or less 'only' look good or will they also be good items to actually fight with? Edit
Stat-wise crafted culture items are intended to be better than existing dungeon-dropped blues, but obviously not as good as same-level epics. The inherent stats alone on the item makes crafted culture gear as good, or better than existing dungeon blues. On top of the inherent stats there is one or two gem slots. After analyzing the crafting system that existed at launch, it became clear we had far too fragile a system by making gem-cutting and smithing completely dependent on one another.
In the future I see gems being completely necessary to customize a crafted weapon or armor piece, and really take it to the next level of stats. However its equally true that I don't expect gems to entirely account for the value placed on crafted gear. Note that sometime in the future if we decide to make a dungeon that is substantially harder than existing content, it might be the case that blue drops off the endboss (for example) would have slightly better stats than crafted culture items. But currently, a fully gemmed piece of culture gear will be the best blue available to players at that level.
In terms of looks, it's definitely my vision that Hyborian authenticity has a big seat at the table. Looking good will always be a matter of opinion, and opinions will differ. But I think it's important to adjust crafting to be an integral part of the game world. This means usefulness, but it also means utilizing the lore of Conan to bring a unified game experience. Where practical, we used good-looking visuals for crafted culture gear that are not otherwise available to players. In some cases, there is an intersection with looks that are used elsewhere in the game. For example, with some community loot (which is in essence 'culture gear,' just not crafted culture gear). As we roll out more of the system, this will be one area that will improve as needed.
Which culture armors and weapons will there be? Edit
Following cultures are represented in armors:
- White Hand / Hyberborian
Atlantean armors are not currently available to crafters, as this culture is intended for later use with more powerful armors.
Culture weapons are as much about the gods of a given area as they are about the cultures represented in that location. The breakdown is a little less orderly, I want to let players discover the details on their own :-)
In comparison, city armors and city weapons are (generally speaking) in the style of Poitain, Cimmeria and Aquilonia. Although this isn't always the case -- Stygian cloth, for example is also represented there. The idea is that city items are what guild blacksmiths might produce to help gear up members, or sell for a regular profit. When gemmed, city items are slightly better than same-level blues. Their production is straightforward, and this is the benefit of requiring guild feats.
Crafting culture items is a much more involved process in terms of acquiring esoteric mats that could come from other recipes or strange places, and making culture gear should be seen as a much more personal achievement that enables players to really explore character identity (of both the crafter, and the wearer) as well as kick ass.
Will culture armors and weapons be restricted for certain races? Like Stygian culture armor can only be worn by stygian chars? Edit
In a very indirect fashion. For example, certain cultures are just not appropriate for certain classes. Like I wouldn't expect to find a lot of Priests of Mitra running around Kush.
Will there be only one version of each armor? Like only Acheronian plate or also Acheronian cloth, Acheronian light armor etc.? Edit
With the initial release of culture gear, there will be only one set for each culture. So obviously this implies one version of each armor. But in future updates, it's certainly the case that for many cultures, there could be multiple versions across a single material type.
Will there be only one type of each culture weapon? Like Acheronian sword but no Acheronian dagger or Acheronian staff or Acheronian bow etc.? Edit
Again, this will be initially true. We're certainly aware the idea of culture items, which do not require guild cities nor the top feats, is a departure from the current state of crafting in AoC. It's also true that new direction to any system on a live MMORPG is a tricky thing that requires caution, planning, and keeping a close eye on what happens when players get their hands on it. The crafting changes scheduled for the next update so far have had a very positive response from the community, and I think as crafting in general is continually improved that players will have a lot of fun with the new content as it is released.
Let us know what you think.