Harvesting Q&A with the always insightful Corey LeFever.
At this point the team has settled in on the primary harvesting skills and what are they?
We feel pretty confident that the current harvesting skills should serve the game well. Right now we’re looking at Fishing, Gathering, Mining, Salvaging, Scavenging, Skinning, and Woodcutting. If we find a need or a niche that can’t be filled for material acquisition using those skills we may consider additional ones, however.
Can players learn all of those skills, or will they be limited to choosing one or a few?
The current plan is to allow anyone to harvest as they wish, assuming they have the appropriate tool and skill level to interact with a node or harvestable corpse. The thought here is that harvesting is a good opportunity for some folks to take a break from grouping or raiding while still advancing their characters a bit. Others will focus on what they need for crafting, or what they want to sell or trade to other players. We don’t see a need to limit who can harvest what at this time. I know I’ll personally be fishing and probably mining when I’m not dungeon delving.
What’s different about the usual suspects (Fishing, Skinning, Mining, Woodcutting and Gathering) in Pantheon?
We’re currently in the prototyping phase for each harvesting skill, so it’s hard to say how different they’ll be as we get further in development. Initially we’re sticking towards tried and true “find an appropriate tool, find an appropriate node, and get to work” approach. If we find opportunities to introduce some gameplay that better serves our audience we’ll certainly see what we can do to shake things up, but we need to make sure we don’t do so just for the sake of being ‘different’.
That said, Fishing is probably the first skill we’ve had some discussions on for a different approach. Nothing concrete to share as of yet, however.
You mentioned tools in response to the previous question. Are they simply required for harvesting, or will there be alternate versions of tools? If so, how will they affect harvesting (if at all)?
Right now they’re just necessary to interact with their associated harvesting usage. Long-term we’d like to explore upgraded tools that can slightly alter harvesting yields and/or harvesting speeds. Unique or upgraded tools might be required as well for specific harvesting targets. A couple examples might be a mythril pick necessary for magical ores in mining, or a specially enchanted knife for skinning mythical beasts. In cases like that the tools would function as basic tools for simpler harvesting nodes in addition to their specific uses. But again we haven’t landed on this as a sure thing yet.
Will harvesting give users any temporary buffs or enhancements?
Some of the more exotic harvesting nodes may provide buffs (and possibly debuffs) to users when they attempt to harvest from them. One example might be a plant that’s gathered for use in mana potions. When harvested, the node might provide some raw mana to the user, or a light mana regeneration buff. Another example might be attempting to harvest nightshade for use in a poison. There might be a chance that the user accidentally poisons themselves while gathering the plant. We’d probably use effects like that sparingly though, so it doesn’t run the risk of being too gimmicky.
Salvaging and Scavenging are relatively new concepts to the game. Can you go into a bit more detail about what each is and how they differ?
Gladly! Simply put, scavenging is finding things, and salvaging is breaking things. That’s overly simplistic though, so let’s touch on a few points for each.
Scavenging is a skill used when rifling through containers or rubbish in the world. A number of interactable barrels, crates, boxes, bags, and the like will be scattered throughout Terminus. Players will be able to dig through them to see what sort of goods they may find. Often times it’ll be raw or processed harvesting materials used in crafting, but sometimes you may find equippable or consumable items as well. Sometimes players can dig through trash heaps, dragon hoards, shipwrecks, and other areas where piles of items have accumulated. Sorting through those items would also utilize the scavenging skill. Scavenging is great if you like accumulating random items, especially materials for crafting. We foresee a good number of ‘non-harvesters’ utilizing this skill as they adventure.
Salvaging is used to attempt to break down existing items into crafting components. Sometimes you’ll get back raw materials, other times processed subcomponents. It all depends on your skill level, and what items make up the item being salvaged (for example, salvaging iron longsword would yield iron items such as iron ore, possibly an iron blade or hilt, and maybe some leather scrap from the grip if you succeed in breaking it down).
How important will harvesting be and what sort of impact to you foresee it having on the economy?
Our aim is that harvesting will have a large impact on the economy. With less reliance on a flood of harvesting nodes, the desired result is that there will be a bit more demand for harvesting materials than we’ve seen in more contemporary MMOs. As players adventure they’re going to need crafters to fill in the gaps in the equippable gear and consumable items at their disposal (and to upgrade their existing gear). Harvesting and its associated skills is going to provide the fuel for crafters to put (and upgrade) those items in adventurer’s hands.
Can you speak a little bit about node dispersion and availability in game?
Our initial thoughts are that nodes are going to be a bit more rare than many current market MMOs have tended to be. Since we also have salvaging and scavenging in the repertoire of player’s skills, we’d like to lean on them a little bit to help fill the gaps. That way items gained while adventuring have a push/pull on whether players should use them, sell them to other players, or chance breaking them down into raw materials. We’ll be keeping an eye though on dispersion and spawn rates to try to find the sweet spot between being resource starved and resource flooded when it comes to harvesting nodes.
If someone harvests a node, will other players still be able to harvest it? Will their locations be randomized when they respawn?
When it comes to harvesting nodes, we’re currently aiming for ‘first come, first served’. This way we can keep a better eye on how rapidly materials are entering and leaving the economy. In the event we do end up allowing for group harvesting, we might consider allowing multiple players to interact with the same node within a brief window of time before it despawns though.
Harvesting node locations will be randomized. While we’re still in the early stages of prototyping harvesting, we’ve already got a pretty decent amount of flexibility as far as how and when we can determine nodes spawn.
Are certain harvesting materials rare? Or found in specific locations?
The short answer is ‘both’. Many nodes will be found by where they geographically make the most sense. There’s going to be a good bit of the world that has zone or region specific materials, and regardless of their location, there will certainly be some rare harvesting materials (the best crafted or upgraded items will require rare materials).
What is being done to make sure that nodes aren’t a bottleneck (will there be multiple ways to acquire a certain material?
This is a great question, given that we’re stating nodes are going to be less common than players may have experienced in other modern online games. Let’s say you’re a tailor starting out. Hypothetically, you need jute for your early crafts. As a crafter looking for jute, you’ll have the option of Gathering (jute plant nodes), Salvaging (tearing apart basic cloth goods made with jute), Scavenging (digging through containers or piles to find raw jute or jute cloth goods), or potentially looting jute cloth from NPCs in areas where they possess those items if you’re also an adventurer. Additionally some repeatable tasks (such as crafting writs) could reward you with bundles of the material you’re after.
Will harvest nodes reflect zone level, or will the nodes be more of a type per zone and level doesn’t factor in?
Currently we’re leaning toward the former more than the latter. Let’s take woodcutting as an example. It’s far more believable that you’d find oak trees to cut where oak trees grow over “oak is a tier 3 material, therefore only level 30 zones have oak trees in them”. We understand where designing materials by level has an appeal. Sticking with the (hypothetical) oak example, in Pantheon where you might utilize oak across a level spectrum comes down to how the oak is treated or finished. One treatment might yield a tier 3 item, whereas another might yield a tier 4 (or any other tier for that matter)
In the past you said you weren’t sure if there will there be group harvesting. Has anything changed?
We’ve had a few conversations internally about the possibility of allowing for group harvesting. In a game like Pantheon that encourages and rewards participation in social activities, we can see the case being made for extending that to harvesting. Where things get tricky is that when we start allowing players to harvest the same nodes together, we’re effectively multiplying the number of raw crafting materials entering the economy. I think it’s something we’re going to continue discussing, but I don’t see us changing our stance on this at the time being.
There’s been talk about items other than nodes being being harvestable what might those be?
In addition to harvesting opportunities, we’re going to be adding several instances in our world where players can find and pick up items from the world. Some examples would be like picking up a weapon from a rack, a potion from a shelf, or sneaking some coins off a merchant’s table (just don’t get caught). Since we’re doubling down on putting the environment front and center of players’ PvE experiences in Pantheon, it seems only fitting that we reward players a bit for paying attention to their surroundings. Also, we just think it’s cool and immersive to be able to pick up actual items in the world. Some items will be super rare, or are only available once certain events have occurred in the zone.