Mining & Smithing - Stone Spirit and Component Fixes
It's been a while since we made any Mining & Smithing changes. Too long, probably. While the rework overall was a huge success, we don't want to ignore the two specific ongoing issues - stone spirits on drop tables, and access to smithable invention components.
Stone Spirits & Drop Tables
To catch everyone up on some information we've given before, let's quickly go over the state of stone spirits in the game. They're worth roughly the same as the associated ore - although recently stone spirits have dropped slightly. But because the ores aren't worth much, stone spirits aren't worth much either.
The net impact on drop tables hasn't been as impactful as players believe. When we ran the numbers, the worst case (Araxxor) was down 4% in average drop value, while Nex was actually up slightly. However, we've received a lot of feedback that getting a drop that's worth significantly less than other items on the drop table feels bad even if it's not having any real impact on gold per hour.
We know a lot of you want us to fix this by either removing stone spirits from drop tables entirely, or by giving them some sort of new, very powerful use that will increase their value. However, we'd still prefer not to go down this route if we can avoid it. It's not because stone spirits are precious - they're not, and if they really don't work we can abandon the concept. It's actually because the low value of stone spirits is only a symptom of the real problem - which is the low value of ore. Even if we replaced stone spirits to increase the value of drop tables, we'd still need to fix the ore value problem as well, so it makes sense to focus our efforts there and try to kill two birds with one stone.
The main reason for the low value of ore is the rate at which it can be produced through AFK Mining. We wanted to provide extremely low interaction options, but this has allowed a flood of ore to be produced at near zero effort, keeping the prices low.
This has been exacerbated by a general lack of interest in Smithing. The release of the rework saw a huge and sustained increase in players Mining, but no similar increase in players Smithing, even after Double XP Weekend where you'd expect to see a spike in buyable skills. We partially addressed this by making Smithing more convenient and buffing armour spikes, but we can still do better.
The second major issue is access to components, especially the exact components you want. The rework made smithable items much more useful to smiths as a source of XP, but almost worthless for disassembly. In practice this hasn't worked out well for anyone - Smithing XP isn't being valued highly enough to keep smithable items above their alch value, but they still disassemble so badly that they're not worth buying for that purpose. Meanwhile salvage provides a lot of free components from PVM, but it's hard to target the ones you specifically want. Because the spring cleaner is so convenient for automatic disassembly, there's very little salvage to buy on the GE.
To try to resolve these issues we have two major changes planned, along with a few minor changes to complement them.
AFK Mining changes
The first major change is a large reduction in AFK Mining rates. Currently, as your stamina drops to zero, your passive Mining progress is lowered to about 80% of what you'd get playing actively. Taking into account that rockertunities effectively double your rates when playing at least semi-actively, AFK Mining is about 40% as effective as active Mining.
We're going to change this so that at zero stamina you will get about 20% passive Mining progress. Including rockertunities. This will result in AFK Mining being about 10% as effective as active Mining, a fourfold reduction in XP and ore. This won't have much impact on anyone who's playing at least semi-actively - for example, if you only click on rockertunities, this refills your stamina quite frequently. What it will impact is completely AFK Mining, which will only be a quarter as effective as it is now.
We hope that this will remove the incentive to run multiple AFK accounts since they won't produce much ore at all without substantially more work and interaction. This should hugely reduce the flow of ore into the game and thus increase its value over time.
There is already an in-game way to get around this new penalty to AFK Mining - stone spirits. If you're Mining while using a perfect Mining juju potion, and you have a stack of stone spirits, then every time you mine an ore you'll automatically refill to 100% stamina. This means that you can continue to generate ore while AFK if you're prepared to buy stone spirits up front - this should increase the value of stone spirits.
However, reducing the supply of ore won't increase the value much without increasing the demand as well, which is where the second fix comes in. We are substantially improving the component rate from disassembling smithable items. Whereas before every item disassembled into 8 components, items will now disassemble into 3 components for each bar used in their manufacture, which includes bars used to upgrade to higher levels.
For example, a longsword +1 costs 2 bars to make and 2 bars to upgrade for a total of 4 bars. When disassembled, it will provide 4 x 3 = 12 components instead of the old 8. The biggest change is the elder rune platebody +5, which used to provide 8 components and now disassembles into an impressive 480.
The junk rate will be standard for the level of the item. In practice this would mean that elder rune items wouldn't be worth disassembling, so to increase their value we've given them a higher chance of providing uncommon components.
This change is aimed at fixing two problems - firstly, it will restore Smithing as the skill which provides components you need on demand. This makes components more available, especially for Ironmen. Secondly, it should increase the demand for, and thus value of, smithable gear. If this happens, it will in turn increase the value of ore and then the value of stone spirits, thus ultimately buffing drop tables.
We're making two other small changes which resolve issues created by these major changes. The first is that Seren stones exist as intentionally AFK Mining content, which would be seriously nerfed by the stamina changes. To alleviate this, we are removing stamina as a mechanic from Seren stones entirely - this means you will always mine at full rate, which is fine as Seren stones don't produce ore which can be devalued. This means anyone who wants to level the Mining skill while AFK can still do so. However, this also makes accumulating corrupted ore much faster, so we'll be reducing the drop rate of corrupted ore to compensate.
The second change is that with the huge buff to components, the Breakdown perk would be insanely strong, so we're also changing it to reflect the new rates.
We're releasing this blog ahead of the changes themselves to make sure everyone is aware of the upcoming changes and has a chance to give feedback. You can expect to see them in game within a few weeks.
Mod Jack & Mod Shogun