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Project Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
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Crafting with Tim Cain!

Update by Tim Cain, Senior Programmer and Designer

I have been working on a lot of different gameplay mechanics since my last update about monks (Update #52). All of the classes are in the game now, along with their abilities and spells up to level 5. This should give us a good basis to test encounters in the game's early maps. So I have turned my attention to some of the non-combat skills, including crafting.

Crafting Basics

Crafting is the skill that you use to make equippable items like armor and weapons, and consumable items like potions and food. To begin crafting, you must find an appropriate crafting location.

  • Forges – these blacksmithing locations can be used to make all of the equippable gear. From helmets to armor to boots, if you can wear it, then you can make it here.
  • Labs – these alchemical tables are used to make any enchantments, as well as all alchemical consumables like potions, scrolls or figurines (which let you summon a creature that will fight for you). If you want to improve your gear or brew a potion, you need to find one of these labs.
  • Hearths – these cooking spots are used to make food and drink that can give you long-term benefits when you ingest them. Many rest areas will have hearths, so crafting of this sort can often be done “in the field”.

When you use the central object at these locations, such as the anvil at the forge, you will enter a crafting interface that displays all of your forge recipes, broken down into categories such as armor, weapons, boots, helmets, rings, etc. You pick a category and can see all of the recipes you know for that category. Each recipe has a set of ingredients needed to make its item (or items, as some recipes will make batches of items). Some recipes will have additional prerequisites, including requiring you or a companion to have a certain talent or ability or even skill at an appropriate level. Higher level recipes have more prerequisites and need rarer ingredients.

You may be wondering where you get recipes. You get a few automatically when you level up your crafting skill, and you can also buy them from vendors. Sometimes you will find recipes in the world, as loot on creatures or as rewards for finishing quests. There will be a lot of recipes in Project Eternity for you to find, so make sure you explore every nook and cranny of this world, especially the crannies.

Crafting doesn’t take any time. If you have everything the recipe needs and are at the appropriate crafting location, then you can make the item instantly. Usually the ingredients are used up, but sometimes they are reusable. And for recipes like enchantments, the main ingredient is not used up but is instead improved by the addition of a new bonus. For example, you might have a sword with high accuracy and a Flaming Sword recipe that adds fire damage to any sword. If you use that sword with that recipe, you will have the same sword with a high accuracy bonus but also with additional fire damage! Win win!

Crafting can also be used to repair items, but first we should talk about item durability in Project Eternity.

Item Durability

Most items don’t degrade over time. This means that boots, rings, helmets, gloves, amulets, cloaks, and belts are not worn down by use. However, weapons, shields, and armor (that is, chest armor) do have durability values and are worn down by use. Specifically, every attack with a weapon degrades that weapon by one unit, and armor and shields are similarly degraded when the wearer is attacked.

Items have lots of units of durability, and they do not suffer any negative effects until those units are completely gone. When an item has reached 25% of its maximum durability, it will become “worn” and appear that way in your inventory, but it will not behave any differently until the last unit of durability is lost. At that point, the item is “damaged” and the following effects will happen:

  • Weapons – damaged weapons do less damage and have less accuracy
  • Armor – damaged armor has lower damage thresholds and the wearer’s attack speed is slower
  • Shields – damaged shields lose part of their defense bonuses

Items can never become worse than “damaged”. They will not break or become more damaged. They just stay damaged until you have them fixed.

Vendors can repair items for money, so that’s a fast and easy way to keep all of your items in top notch condition. The cost of the repair is proportional to the percentage of the durability lost and the cost of the item, so expensive items tend to be more costly to repair than cheaper ones, especially if you let them lose a lot of their durability before repairing them.

However, let’s see how you can save your precious hard-earned money by bringing this discussion back to crafting.

A typical Hearth where you can craft food and drink.

Durability and Crafting

You or any companion can repair items by using the crafting skill at a forge. More importantly, you can use materials instead of money, if you have the right ones. The higher your crafting skill or the more materials you have, the less money it costs to repair an item. Some items might even repair for free!

But wait...there’s more!

The crafting skill also decreases the rate of degradation on items used by a character. So if you have the crafting skill, when you hit someone, your weapon doesn’t lose a whole point of durability. Instead it loses a fraction of a point. And when you are hit, your armor and shield don’t lose a whole point each either. And the higher your crafting skill, the less durability you lose. We are assuming that if you know how to make an item, you also know how to use and take care of it.

So a high crafting skill means your weapons, armor, and shields degrade more slowly and you can repair those items (and those of your companions) more cheaply than a vendor. That is such a win-win situation, how can you afford to NOT take the crafting skill?!

I’ll answer that question in a future update about the other skills in Project Eternity.

Let us know what you think! Discuss this update on our forums

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    1. Missing avatar

      Derpdragon of the Obsidian Order on

      Just an example :

      Diablo 2 Item Durability -> OK
      Diablo 3 Item Durability -> Hell No

    2. Missing avatar

      Derpdragon of the Obsidian Order on

      Crafting +1
      Durability -∞

      I just dislike the idea of item durability in a cRPG, maybe if all high end items are indestructible or something it could pass. In the end it'll all depend on the application of said "feature" in the game and whether or not it breaks immersion for me. In other words I'll just find the first mod that removes useless gold sink crap routines. Having gold sinks that actually feel like milestones is ok for me (keep upgrades and other unlocks for example), but having a "feature" that feels like a chore will not last long in any single player RPG I ever play.

    3. Ignoramus on

      @Jalister - "I live check to check IRL, I don't need money sinks in my games too"
      That's pretty much like saying "real life is challenging enough for me, I don't need any challenge in my games". Like someone already said, if you're going put item durability in the game, make sure it actually makes a *real* difference, or don't implement it all.

    4. Merin

      I would have lived with crafting and item durability mechanics.

      But I wouldn't have liked them.

      Crafting always, at best, sucks time away from my enjoying the game. At worst, which is most of the time, it sucks fun away from the game for me.

      Wear on equipment is a fine mechanic for certain games, I guess, but it isn't something I want in my party-based cRPG.

    5. Leonardo Montenegro on

      I like the durability concept... having to worry about how long your equipment is going to last is another tactic and fun aspect of a game...

    6. Dylan Bryan-Dolman on

      Reading the comments, the vast majority of positive comments on the durability system are the most damning kind of faint praise:

      "unobtrusive enough to be ignored" applauded the fans.

      If it's going to be that weaksauce, why bother at all?

    7. Jalister on

      As for the money sink, in a single player game I'm fine with ending the game with a hoard of money and treasure. I live check to check IRL, I don't need money sinks in my games too.

    8. Jalister on

      @James - As it has been explained, durability can't be completely ignored, unless you want to run around with weakened equipment.

    9. James Bywater on

      I agree with DB, crafting and degradation both seem like good systems that add some depth.

      Thing is, it looks like the crafting is easily ignored / opted out of if you don't want to do it. Perhaps add a system where we CAN take blueprints and recipes to other merchants and they'll make them for us at a greater cost than the crafting can manage (perhaps certain rare / unique ingredients still need gathering, on top of the cost?). That way, you can completely ignore the system if you don't like it, but it's there for those who want it.

    10. Missing avatar

      Scottish Dragon on

      I must admit I'm really disappointed by the number of people complaining about crafting.
      I LOVE the concept of crafting, & it sounds like the implementation they've gone for here is a really neat version of that.
      (It's an RPG, not an FPS; I want something to do other than hit things, & being able to tinker with my equipment is part of that.)

      As far as degradation, I personally liked the solution.
      It's a tinge of realism, a touch of money-sink (because honestly, sitting on piles of gold at the end-game is just weird), & it's not horribly frustrating because you're not going to have things completely fall apart on you or be rendered unusable.

    11. Missing avatar

      Nathan Destler on

      My two cents: Crafting is potentially cool, but I agree with others that most crafting materials need to not take up inventory space. On the other hand, given how inventory is going to be handled, that may be a non-issue.

      Durability is kind of a pain. I assume it's being implemented to keep low-level characters from being able to use high-level weapons for extended periods of time, much like what Fallout 3 did with ammo drop rates. Otherwise I'm afraid I don't really see the point.

    12. Valmy, Elephant Herder of the AGL 589 on

      Big fan of both crafting options and item degradation. The more strategic elements there are the more fun so long as they are not so problematic as to require note taking like Oblivion's leveling system. I am liking what I am seeing so far.

    13. Daniel Lawson on

      *double checks account* yeah...item durability... that wont be a problem

    14. reynolds on

      Crafting + 1
      Item durability - 10

      I'd be happy to see recipes for items that could only be produced via crafting as long as the world featured items that could only be obtained through exploration. If the number of super items found through looting is roughly equal to the number of super items that could be made through crafting, by the end of the game, then the crafters are rewarded for developing the skill but non-crafters don't have to miss out on the best items.

      The ability to craft should change the experience, but not make it easier or necessarily better - just add a viable option for item procurement for those wishing to pursue it.

    15. Dylan Bryan-Dolman on

      I don't see the point of such a half-hearted durability system.

      It comes across like an awkward compromise between someone who wanted a more punishing durability system and someone else thinking that was just a pain in the ass.

      A stricter version of item-degradation might very well be a pain in the ass, but this watered-down version sounds like it's just going to end up as pointless busywork: every so often you have to drop by a blacksmith and click "repair" and it costs 20 silver. What does that really add to the game?

    16. Missing avatar

      harborpirate on

      I really like this. This gives me two things that I enjoy in games:
      1. Something to do other than constantly killing everything. (Hopefully there will be many more of these options to come)
      2. A money sink so that the game doesn't leave me sitting on mountains of useless gold by the end.

      I'm really interested in crafting receipes - I like the idea of them being something you might find hidden in a crafter's hut/cave/fortress, or as a drop after killing a crafting or messenger NPC.

      If some players want to turn money sinks like durability off, fine; I don't have a problem with such an option. But please retain the durability mechanic for those of us that would enjoy it as part of the challenge.

    17. Shevek on

      My take:

      1. Item durability is fine so long as it is a MINOR money sink and a MINOR annoyance. In other words, having to spend tons of cash to repair uber items is no fun. On the other hand, having to have a spare handy in case my main weapon falls into disrepair due to trying to bash some kind of rust monster is ok. If its done this way, thats fine. However, if I am tossing piles of gold to fix my items because I didnt take crafting, then the system is no good.

      2. Crafting items is OK so long as it is simply a cheaper/easier way of getting what you can already find in the gameworld. However, if the only way to make some uber weapon or to get the right modifiers on an item is through crafting, then that means you MUST craft in order to reach optimal potential. ToEE was very guilt of this. As a player, I should be able to find any item in any quantity I desire without having to take crafting. Crafting should just be a sort of minor money/time saver not a game changer. Uber items (Holy Avenger, etc) should be craftable so long as players can also get NPC crafters to make the items with equal success (for a fee, of course).

      Ultimately, I do not like feeling "forced" to take crafting. I should be just as successful at getting any items I want by taking haggle skills, lockpicking, or being a good ole fashioned hurt machine that goes where he pleases and takes what he wants.

    18. Kabraxis on

      Will damaged armor also be visually displayed? :P

    19. Robert Szczelina on

      imho I would prefer Baldur's Gate style of Durability / Cooking:

      "While your character does not have to eat, please remember that you do. We don't want to lose any dedicated players."

      So as someone proposed earlier it will be good if it is optional feature ;) And Durability remainds me of Diablo and such...

      Crafting is good if like in BG2: where you have rare smiths that can create some powerful items that has some story to them...

    20. Keichi Morisato on

      well if crafting is going to be important, you can't have limited item slots.

    21. Justin Wells on

      Except we do not know what the penalties will be. It may very well be something you will have to pay attention to, if all your weapons and armor are damaged.

    22. Cernunnos on

      Some of us don't care at all about crafting and consider item degradation to be an annoying hindrance that contributes nothing to our enjoyment of the game or the sense of immersion we feel in the world.

      However, it seems that a fair amount of thought and effort has already been invested into these mechanics. My recommendation would be to grant players the option to disable item degradation altogether, and to ensure that crafting isn't required to advance plot development in the main story or side quests.

    23. Missing avatar

      Godewijn on

      I like it, but have I understood correctly that you cannot craft weapons yourself? You only talked about armor at a forge.
      Maybe some people who do not like this news should be a bit more kind in how they phrase that fact.
      In any case, I see it as optional and a nice balance has been struck: weapons will never destroy and just get a pena)lty: not too bad if you don't want to pay attention to it.
      Again, I like it :)

    24. trisenk on

      I can't see any pros of this durability system. It's doesn't make the game more fun, it's takes development resources that could be spent elsewhere, and it's semi-optional (the items do not break). Durability kinda works in Bethesda'esque flavor RPGs, but here - not really.

    25. Céline .S. Sauvé on

      I do find all the comments about hunger/thirst a little amusing, especially as there is mention here about crafting food. And doing it often.

      Perhaps there is already a hunger mechanic?

    26. Missing avatar

      Nicolas on

      @Anton, I disagree. If you've swung your sword with full force, intending to maim/kill your opponent and you miss you almost certainly will hit something, and if you do you can bet it'll be more solid than human flesh.

      But I agree, armor shouldn't be degraded by a miss.

    27. Missing avatar

      qvark on

      I agree with crafting being kind of a waste of time. If you decide to go ahead with crafting please make crafting items kind of side-quest which in the end would give you a very unique item. From the description in this update it more feels like a generic spreadsheet thing where you apply 1x sharp recipe + 1x fire recipe = firesword. For me that's not in the least interesting.

      Instead make crafting something that is used more seldom but instead ties in to the plot.

    28. Missing avatar

      Jilkon on

      I assume that durability loss only occurs when you hit or are hit. It makes no sense for a sword to grow more dull when it misses the enemy's armor. It would also make high agility characters more money efficient due to dodging.

    29. Missing avatar

      Mad Squ on

      Maybe the effects of degration should be depending on the material. To me it is obvious that an armour made of leather is less durable than my magic shield of defence+500 made of gold an stone alloy. So the better the equipment gets, the less the party has to care about degration, repairing and stuff. This could mean that after the first third of the game, when the action really begins, there is no real need to check after the gear any more. ANd in the beginning, when the party is not yet so powerful and the tasks are not yet so huge, there is at least something to do.

    30. Shervyn von Hoerl

      Screw crafting and durability! What a total waste of time and resources. How does any of it move the epic story forwards? Durability forces you to waste gold or time, crafting is fiddly and annoying. What a bad, bad call. Dump the whole thing.

    31. Silver on

      You can find my opinions in the forum thread (Update #58), page 8.

    32. Thomas Johansson on

      For the love of all things good and just, PLEASE make item durability optional.

    33. Missing avatar

      Mikhael Blackthorne on

      @ Mark Project Eternity may want to make money an issue within the game. Most RPGs you have gold coming out of your backside but some make you work for it and item degradation is a simple money sink.

      I agree with you I am not a big fan of item degradation due to the micromanagement but this is the least painful possible way of doing it so it doesn't bother me too much. We don't want to make the game TOO casual do we? ;)

    34. Missing avatar

      Mark Kingsbury on

      The crafting sounds interesting but I must express that I typically don't enjoy item degradation being a factor in games. While it is realistic that items wear with time, I have always felt that it adds tedious micromanaging but not necessarily any fun or further engagement. The binary system of damaged or not damaged reduces the vigilant honing of gear that some games impose, but in the end of the day it still is an extra obligation that I don't really enjoy.

      If realism were the goal, one could also impose hunger and thirst values to characters that you have to maintain. This typically isn't done because it adds unnecessary elements to the game that are out of the focus of the experience, high fantasy adventure in this case. Things such as hunger and thirst are expected to be taken care of by your characters without you needing to worry about it. Could we not also expect for our characters to take care of their equipment without us needing to worry about it.

      Fall Out 3 has been mentioned for having this item degradation system, but I would like to point out that Fall Out is a very different sort of game where that mechanic serves the theme of the world set up. This is because in this post-apocalyptic setting surviving by scrounging the ruins and getting things/keeping things working is a major concern. Fall Out: New Vegas even added a survival mode that tracks your hunger and thirst to serve the theme of this harsh landscape. While I still only so much of the world of Project Eternity, does the mechanic of item degradation truly fit within the themes of this world?

    35. Justin Wells on

      BG1s degradation was very plot specific, and so minor you could barely even notice it once you got into the game any length.

      As for any Fallout references, well yes, it makes sense in those games. They are post apocalyptic games in which resources play a big part, in which you are cobbling together what you can to get by. Or at least that is the theme, you really ended up pretty loot rich in the end anyways.

    36. Justin Wells on

      I could see item degradation being a mechanic that adds to SS2, however that is a completely different style of game with a very survival horror tone to it so it makes sense. An epic fantasy that we all signed up for? I am not convinced.

      If they are hell bent on adding it to the game then I would love to hear their reasoning as to what it adds to gameplay enjoyment, besides giving an arguably niche set of players in an already niche game warm and fuzzie., Compromise, put it into a hardcore mode, where you can have other things like food/water/bathroom breaks/disease etc that needs to be managed as well.

    37. Missing avatar

      Dan on

      That said. baldur's gate included it in a limited fashion. magic equipment (or at least I never recall ) did not break due to the iron and you came into a fair amount of magic equipment not that long into the game. (dagger+1 right at the start ect.)

    38. Missing avatar

      Dan on

      Item degredation was in baldur's gate 1? are you referring to wands or the tainted iron equipment breaking? or is there something else I'm forgetting. I liked the baldurs gate 1 system because there was an element of suspence. I had one battle become much much tougher than I was expecting it to be because my only greatsword decided to pack in during it...
      I'm not saying I'm against item degredation. merely the form in which it is described in the above post.

    39. Nick J. on


      Item degradation was in Baldur's Gate 1, it worked in Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas and given the amount of loot and found objects that you stumble on to in RPGs, it's good to have built in money sinks and reasons to have crafting skills in the game that have meaningful gameplay considerations or else it's just a lot of fluff and/or breaks the game's economy.

    40. Missing avatar

      Dan on

      While I like crafting I'm not sold on item degradation. the system proposed sounds dreary. its not enough of a big deal to make it a core mechanic to survival or balancing the degredation of your gear so not using top tier gear for day to day battles. which just means it doesnt really add anything other than a dreary time and money tax :/

    41. Khalaq on

      I assume you've been reading all of the responses to this update. I have, and I find the pattern of responses interesting. Rather than adding another opinion, however, I'm going to try for clarification. Whether or not Crafting and/or Durability end up in the game, we should be really clear about what impact they have in a game.

      In a nutshell, Crafting is a mini-game. You take time out of your regular endeavors, tinkering and fiddling with odds and ends, so that you might end up with an object which will give you a leg up in the main game. MMO's use it as a crutch, but crafting has been around for as long as RPG's have. (I would know. I've been playing RPG's since the 70's). Most successful implementations of crafting are structured so that crafting is completely optional.

      What to avoid: cluttering up inventory space; making crafting a time-consuming affair.

      In a nutshell, Durability is a tax. While a well-implemented durability system can add some realism to the game, reality is often a drag. People play games to avoid the dreariness of reality, so too much reality can stifle the enjoyment. Having durability for an item amounts to hanging a penalty over the head of the player. When that penalty will strike, and how much damage it will do should be carefully considered. Most successful implementations of durability keep the penalty to a minimum except in extreme cases (such as death).

      What to avoid: making it too big a part of the game; making the time & money sink too severe.

      I hope that what I have written here will be helpful in evaluating the feedback received.

    42. Jason Bean on

      Perhaps they could find a way to turn Item-Degrading off but keep it as an option for people who want it? Personally I've never liked having to repair items in any game and have always found it a needless hassle.

    43. Jalister on

      I don't want an ARPG. I have Grim Dawn coming for that. And I didn't say I don't want crafting, it's a great option. I would probably even use it a little. I'm just not looking forward to item degradation. Never liked it.

    44. Daz23 on

      I like crafting and item degradation - it keeps you on your toes. If you ever played System Shock 2, you will know what I mean. It sounds to me like the complainers are just expecting a pure action RPG where nothing should distract them from the grind of fighting. I for one am more interested in the Role Playing part where I can do different things in the game. Crafting, item degradation, and even micromanagement I associate with role playing, since I find pure action RPG's boring.

    45. Jalister on

      @Mike - I find dealing with durability to be a burden, and it really doesn't add immersion or realism. If I'm wearing leather armor and take a fireball to the torso, there is no repairing that armor.

      As for the bathroom reference, it was to make a point that you don't need 100% realism for immersion in a good story. You don't see the crew of Star Trek stop what they are doing to go to the bathroom multiple times a day, or take the time to eat three square meals a day. That would actually take away from the story.

      As I mentioned before, I play games for entertainment, not to have a second job. If I want to get stuck at a crafting bench, I'll stick to an MMO.

    46. Paul Marzagalli on

      I have to confess: crafting is my *least* favorite element of any of these games. Absolutely can't be bothered with it, esp. its components such as weapon and armor degradation. Sigh.

    47. Missing avatar

      Mike Daneman on

      I don't get all the complaints about crafting and damage. Crafting is definitely a fun feature for many people and is completely optional, so can be ignored by those who don't like it. I personally think it's great.

      Regarding equipment wear, I can see where some may find it annoying, however, it seems that PE is implementing a great middle ground between having your gear constantly degrade and then break and no wear at all. It still adds a bit of realism (immersion) without being a burden.

      And for those saying the adding any realism is a waste of time, that's just silly. A big part of the attraction of a CRPG is the immersion. Saying that if they implement any realism they have to implement everything (like going to the bathroom) is ridiculous. The sign of a great CRPG is exactly in balancing the realism (immersion) and ease of play/fun. It should never be an all or nothing approach.

    48. Missing avatar

      Ross Whalen on

      @Randy Snow, I totally agree. It's not a big deal, but it is weirdly infuriating when you keep coming across the same recipe. It's like the game is taunting you; "ooh, I have all these awesome things you can make, but I'm not going to let you find them! Have another Magikarp, HaHa!". I'd rather just not see the duplicates.

    49. pclabtech on

      Oh dear God NOOOOOO. Item degradation goes back to the earliest of MMOs, and so does the crafting model. I remember in Asheron's call 2 where you "had" to be near a forge in order to craft weapons. Rift does the same stuff... you are near a "machine" the "machine" brings up your crafting window. Thankly WoW allows you to craft in the field with no machines.

      But this is an RPG (no MMO) so I don't know how it will affect an economy that is not based on multi-player interaction, probably akin to Diablo auction house style crafting.

    50. Andrew Vallejo on

      Oh god please no item degradation it is the worst shit in the world.