- Auction House... But Not What You Think!
One of the big problems those players with an excess amount of cash have started to notice is, there's really nothing to spend it on. These players are just soaking up most of the economy's money, and then sitting on it. Give them something to spend it on, and have fun in the process. Let's see an auction house, a real auction house, a la FFVI, FFIX, where players can try to outbid each other on daily auctions of exotic items. It would be a fantastic way to pull money out of the economy from the top level.
- NPC Middlemen! (Or: Why can't my retainer do this?)
Whether it's added as a new feature for the retainer, or there's an organization of NPC merchants around town that perform this function, allow players to dump unwanted items into these NPCs, at which point they will, using metrics, attempt to sell the items at a reasonable price, in the wards, to other players. They will take a decent cut of the profits, emptying gil out of the economy, while providing a no-strings-attached, no hassle, no fuss way for players to get rid of their unwanted mole shanks and **** feathers after an adventure, without merely vendoring them. Once the item is sold, it's added to the player's account, and the account can be picked up whenever. This serves a dual purpose, if the market becomes over-saturated with a certain item driving prices down, this system could merely kill the item, while still giving the player more of a gil reward than what they'd get vendoring an item. It would still be desirable to sell high value items, and large stacks of specific items via one's own retainer or (hopefully, eventually) store. Workshops... Detailed!
I mentioned workshops in my OP, to expand on that: provide a number of unique floor layouts for rooms, the room itself can be simple, so this shouldn't be terribly difficult, re-skinned for each nation. As we level, and can afford it, (charging on a curve per number of rooms) allow us to expand our workshop with additional rooms. These simple rooms can be customized largely by the placement and addition of a variety of furniture pieces and decorations.
Right off the bat, the number one thing that players should be able to add to their workshop is additional storage. Both generic storage, as well as unique item storage. A box of rings to store large quantities of metal rings, a pantry to store spices, and what have you. Much like the Archer's quiver, these furniture pieces could have visual indications of how stocked they are, providing a cheaply implemented sense of immersion. More importantly, the player could cater each room of their workshop to the needs of a specific craft or type of synthesis. While in that room, players could directly access materials from each storage space during synthesis, and synthesizing any material compatible with a storage unit would drop it directly into the unit. Merely targeting the storage unit would allow the player to have direct access to add and remove items. This kind of functionality alone gives players enough reason to use their workshop for long haul synthesis sessions, which is what they should use it for.
What smith's workshop would be complete without a forge, what weaver's without a loom? A craftsman is only as good as his tools, right? A sewing needle and a hammer comprise only a fraction of the tools each of these professions uses. We have crystal synthesis to abstract crafting, allowing us to carry around only these small tools with us. But when we are in our workshop, as the NPCs do in the guilds, let us make use of more tools! There's already loads of animations for using various tools in the guilds, and new animations are always in the works for combat classes, so it's not out of the question to toss some our way as well. Various types of tools can provide various benefits, some may allow us to mass produce simple materials more quickly, while others may be meant for improving success on finished items. Start simple, let us have common support whenever we use our basic workbench. As we rank up and can buy new upgrades to use, enhance the bonuses little by little.
Let us make additions and attachments to our tools, there's no need to constantly replace them. Each "workbench" (Using this as a generic term) could have a number of attachment slots, that increases as we rank up. Each attachment could provide a minor bonus, nothing too amazing that we never want to craft outside of our workshop again, but a lot of minor things and convenience features that give us a reason to craft there for long sessions of creating raw materials, or for creating very difficult and rare armors and weapons (etc.) Perhaps adding new bellows to our forge reduces the change of causing our fire element to go unstable, just simple bonuses that we'll be more than willing to shell out the gil to acquire.
- We can still Craft Elsewhere!
The key with our workshop is convenience, we don't want a workshop to become such a boon that it feels wrong to try to craft anything beyond its walls. That said, as I mention above, if we're in for a long grinding session of churning out raw materials, or attempting to high-quality a particularly difficult item, it makes perfect sense that we'd want to do so from our own workshop. One great way to prevent "Oh my god I need to go back to my workshop to do this"-syndrome, is to provide a special item for crafters that reach higher ranks, we can attune the item to a certain room in our workshop, and once activated we will be able to gain all the bonuses of that room in the workshop for the next 30 minutes of synthesis. If we're stuck out in the field needing to make something, instead of feeling like it would be a waste to bother without our workshop, and either heading back at tremendous inconvenience, or waiting to make the item, we have this emergency method of gaining the bonuses we've spent our hard earned time and money accruing, even when we're not at home.
- Crafting Parties! Come on over!
Nothing would rub me the wrong way more than having the chance to build a workshop and then not being able to invite others over to see it. It's a display of our wealth and hard work, and our friends should be able to not only see, but to benefit from it. Allow us to invite friends and party members into our workshops to use the facilities. This creates even more reason for crafters to befriend eachother, it should be possible, but absurdly expensive and time consuming to create and maintain a workshop for all of the crafting professions in one. On the other hand, merely befriending someone of another profession would be a great way to promote player interaction and crafting guilds. Using another person's workshop would of course have some drawbacks, (mostly related to storage) but it's a BYOM (bring your own materials) affair. Let us give out "workshop keys" so our good friends can access our workshops even when we're not around. Heck, perhaps we can even rent out workshop space for profit! Regardless, if my friend has a great weaving workshop and I have a great smithing workshop, we should be able to use eachother's shops, and gain many of the benefits of doing so. It wouldn't hurt to allow us to purchase and upgrade group crafting equipment, either! Edited, Aug 16th 2011 1:12pm by RamseySylph