Thread: Smithing, again
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Old August 27, 2016, 00:26   #1
Infinitum
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Smithing, again

Taking another stab (or strike if you will, hurp) at my least favourite part of Sil. It's been a while since the last one of these threads. Anyhow; Smithing:

* Takes a huge skill investment to rival endgame equipment - the main gameplay problem imo; essentially any points in smithing are forfeit in order to "gurantee" equipment that tends to come to the player anyhow at the depths smithing turns useful. Examples given, a fine shadow cloak of protection is the equivalent of 34 smithing points. A doublefine mithril corslet of resilience is 29 points. With some exceptions, most of the "good" artifacts is in the 30-40 ballpark as well should you recreate them.

Assuming a 4-grace start and a full smithing kit (crown +1, amulet +1, gauntlets +3, artifact hammer +3/4, +3 from song), that still means some 15-20 odd points of raw skill just to be on par with what the player is likely to find lying around anyhow (especially given wands of treasure). Or some 15-20k in skillpoints, plus abilities, song investment and smithing gear costs, all in all between a fourth and a third of the total xp before Morgoth to be on par should you want to customize every equipment piece.

* Takes a huge time investment - smithing takes 10 turns per difficulty level to complete, more if you wait around for aule to recharge. A "worthwile" endgame piece is at least 30 smithing. You have 10-12 slots to fill depending on bow and shield preferences in addition to the smithing gear and intermediate stuff you made. Minimum depth occurs around 29k turns. Do the math.

* Slow, uncertain return of said investment - the above assumes the player will spend 2-3 full forges on smithing boosters to help him create that vaunted endgame gear, whilst somehow juggling this with smithing "enough" midgame-tier equipment (in the 10-20 range) to survive short term. Given how rarely forges are being generated it makes actually spending skill points beyond those +2 rings/protection armours/crown of command until you've found a staff of revelations extremely sketchy - falling behind on accuracy/evasion compared to the current depth is after all what gets most players killed midgame.

However, the smithing boosters themselves sits in the low teen to low twenty range, requiring the player to hoard at least some 10k xp in total midgame or risk missing out on effective forge uses later.

* The above adds up to essentially making smithing a sucker trap for new players and an unofficial hard mode for experienced ones. To get a proper smith going, one must spend most early xp into smithing and use early forges to create a smithing gear and simultaneously find or create enough quality equipment to offset the gimped combat stats and find and identify enough stat regainers to offset losses and pray for an early staff of revelations because it's the only way to realistically get geared up in time before cat territory (without losing too many artifacts to scumming, of course). All of the above must be accomplished without too many rerolled levels because again, clock's ticking!

All this for a payoff that typically comes well after the player would normally outlevel and outmurder everything sans V himself. Incidentally, most proper smiths die young.

After trying (and failing repeatedly to get through the above wall with what must be dozens of characters (and bitch about it for years on end), is it too early to beg half for a radical redo if/when 1.4/1.5 comes along? There have been tweaks, true, but those have mostly been aimed at curbing song of mastery smiths and endgame power level (which isn't the issue tbh; every character is overpowered after cat depths should s/he live that long - somwthing which even smiths lucking into multiple forges have an issue with).

There are of course uses for low-level smithing that uses the 100' forge as a stepping stone (and for the high possibility of early (undercosted) feanorian lamps), and arguably the 10k mid/lategame xp to hammer-slingshot into a sharp weapon can be justified due to how powerful/rare (light) sharp weapons are. On the whole the entire game system feels broken and unfun as is to me.

What are your current thoughts about it? Working as intended? Any changes you would like to see? Current imba smithing strategy? Any planned upcoming features from the creators? Anyone? Anything?
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