This weekís livestream featured a mini-Q&A on Giants' Foundry, the proposed Smithing minigame/skilling activity! Topics included:
- An overview of how the minigame will work
- Possible future improvements to Mining and Smithing
- Updates to the Giants' Foundry rewards
Thanks to Mod Light (Community Manager) and Mod Oasis (Content Developer) for their insights!
Missed the livestream? Check out the full transcript below!
The post seemed a little unclear on how the mechanics would work. Can you talk us through this and how the minigame will work for someone who hasnít read the blog?
For you today, I recorded myself playing the Foundry. This did take me three tries not to mess up!
So you start off with getting a commission from Kovac. This commission is just two words, in this case "broad and heavy".
Once you've got your commission you open up the Mold setup screen, and you will see all the moulds I've got unlocked as a level 99 account. I'm looking for moulds with the keywords "Broad" and "Heavy". All the important ones to me are highlighted in green. This allows me to do a quick calculation to say okay, 16 plus 4 is 20, 18 plus 4 is 22 - Let's go for that.
When I select and you do this for the forte, blade, and tips, these make up your sword combination. Once that's done, you click set and that's good to go! I then go over to the crucible, I put in some bronze bars, it takes them from my inventory. I can put in a bronze platebody because the crucible also accepts item items as well.
It's important to note that the items you put in are, whatever it costs to make minus one. If it costs five metal bars to make it is worth four in the crucible so the platebody goes from 5 down to 4. Once I have poured that metal in I have to add 20 more bars of metal into the crucible. I pour them into the mould and then I need to cool it down to grab it. That's the preform in my hand - it looks suspiciously like a bronze two-hander, that's because the art hasn't been done yet!
The first tool I need to use is the trip hammer. How do I know that? The red bar at the top is the trip hammer, it has a little hammer icon, and I have a little grey highlight to say I'm on that tool currently.
The interface is still a work in progress. It probably needs to look a little bit fancier because it's quite "functional" at the moment.
I take it to the trip hammer and with one click, it works away. As you can see my completion bar goes up as the temperature slowly drops. Eventually, that temperature is going to drop out of a working range. it's done just that, if I was to continue working on the preform with that tool, I would start damaging it. This means I need to heat it back up again by standing next to some lava - We need to add an actual animation of you dipping the preform in and take it back to the trip hammer.
What you just saw there (referring to the screenshot below) with that white highlight box is something we're calling a "sweet spot". These are quite rare, they should only come up like one or two times when you're working a tool. If you "action it", meaning if you click on the tool you're using in the brief window that is open, you'll get a lot more like completion value, and it will jump right up. They're not so often that you have to hyper focus on what you're doing to make sure you get them. But if you're casually looking, you should see it, action it and then completion will jump up a nice amount. It's like a nice reward for paying decent attention during the minigame.
Now we'll take it to the polishing wheel.
The order that I use these tools is in is random. I'm making a really basic sword at the moment made of bronze and iron. If I were to make like a sword that uses rune and some adamant, for example, I'd have a lot more steps. I would need to use a lot more tools in different combinations. That's where the variety comes in. The working temperature you see at the top is a lot smaller, so you have to keep reheating the sword and cooling it down to complete the sword.
I move onto the last tool now, which is the grindstone. I need to heat the sword all the way back up to the yellow area. Then once I've done that, I can take it back over to the grindstone and work the sword. We wanted all three tools to work differently. The grindstone, instead of cooling the sword down, it heats it up. You have to just remember that when you go to use the grindstone, you need the temperature bar at the bottom, instead of at the top.
I'm working it and working it, I've stopped paying attention. Now I'm working this outside of the correct temperature zone, and it started to get damaged, as you can see at the blue bar at the top! If that blue bar hits zero it's game over, you can't gain any of that blue bar back. Once you lose it, it's lost and that impacts my final reward.
I don't want to lose any quality on my sword. I'm not being too good here, I could have maximised it by taking that arrow all the way to the bottom of the yellow temperature zone, this would have allowed me to get the as much time AFK as possible. We've made it so you can't sit there spam clicking. We have an anti-spam measure so that you can't be spam click away hoping for a sweet spot to appear, you'll miss the next action.
That was a really quick run through about the Foundry works. The setup for making a sword takes half a minute at most, depends on how quick you are banking. The real variety comes in the refinement stage. What quality of metals do you choose? How much of each metal do you put into the crucible? How good is your Moulder effects of starting quality? There's a whole bunch of variables. We want to make something really unique, that changes from every sword you make.
Once you're done you hand it over to Kovac and you can get another sword. I'll talk a little bit more about the experience later, how the points tie in and what we want to do with the rewards shop.
That is the Giants' Foundry gameplay loop on its own. There is a question that jumps up later on about; "Is this like a minigame? Or is this a skilling activity?" It's hard to call it like a skilling activity because it doesn't tie into the greater scheme of Smithing. It's not really a minigame because you're putting in your own resources. I'd say it's like a single-area skilling activity. That's a better way to look at it, than an actual minigame.
I going to answer the question now and that rather than later on, and it's why we haven't put a pet into this piece of content. It's because it's not really a minigame! It's just a unique way to train smithing. We didn't think it really needed a pet. "Not all content needs pets" is my train of thought.
That's my ramble about what Giants' Foundry is.
What will the XP per hour roughly look like?
We've done some further work on getting the experience into a more defined place. Obviously, we're still balancing, we can't say "this is going to be 70k XP an hour", because that locks us in and it makes it incredibly difficult to do any further balancing later on.
The way we're thinking about it is it takes 7-10 minutes to make the best sword in the Giants' Foundry. We're not going to give away which that is yet, it's up to you guys to figure it out! Seven minutes of a player's time is quite a lot, and that's on the good end. Right now, our current ballpark estimate with the best mould set up, which you're not always going to have with the best material combinations, which players will eventually get to, it's about 6k experience per sword. 7 minutes to make that, you do the maths. Using 20 bars of material each, you're not gonna get as much experience as you will somewhere else but you get so much more value out of it.
Just to reiterate, it's roughly 6k XP, for seven minutes and 20 bars consumed in that time as well. That's what we're looking at. It will be interesting to hear your thoughts, and see where we can go from there. We may need to go up, since some people are people saying it's kind of dead, but we can go higher from there. There are a a few other things that contribute to it - at Blast Furnace, making platebodies is crazy high XP per hour as they can get through so many. At Blast Furnace, you get such high value for every bar that you use on something.
Do you have a particular type of player that exp is aimed at like, is it for more casual or earlier game? Or is it for literally anyone no matter what stage they're at?
When we went into it, our primary focus was the 30-70 range. One of the core things we're looking at is to not overtake Blast Furnace. Blast Furnace is roughly 300k XP an hour, which is crazy high. We didn't want to touch upon that because we wanted a minigame that was more engaging and that you had to think about, rather than being braindead.
That was our approach going in. As I said, we're still doing some balancing. We can up that 6k number. There is a risk and reward factor to this minigame as well. But it's not going to be 300k like at Blast Furnace, or 250k making rune platebodies which you can only do at 99 anyway. It's that 30-70 range that we're looking at.
How repetitive will the setup and refinement stages be? This is the real factor in deciding if the minigame is actually fun or a grind!
Oh, it says "fun" on this question and fun is super-subjective, right? We have gone out of our way to make sure there's variation between every sword you make. The sweet spots are random. The order in which you need to do the tools are random, to an extent, we did have to define it in some parts. The kind of mould set up at the beginning, can be random as well. You could get a really good combination based on the moulds you have unlocked, or you can get quite a bad combination that is not going to be amazing but still super worth doing. It's that kind of nice variation.
We don't want it to be like braindead content where you just click, wait two minutes for it to go through and you just get your experience. You have to pay some decent attention, you have to think about what you're doing. So that's kind of where it sits right now.
If this is supposed to be a minigame rather than an alternative training method, then why are the resources for it not provided within the mini-game? For example, you don't need any external resources (besides basic tools/items to make it easier) for GoTR, Tithe Farm, Pyramid Plunder, Agility Arena, etc.
Players always end up with all these bars and stuff that, outside of darts for iron men, they were not that much use. We wanted to give them a use in a decent training method. It's not a minigame, you do have to bring your own resources in. That being said, I was thinking about this the other day, we could have approached this piece of content as a minigame and made Smither-Todt, if we really wanted to. But we wanted something where players had to put in their own resources. It kind of plays against the other sides of gathering resources not from mining, like PVM and stuff like that, giving them a use outside of like, just high alch.
Are you taking any measures to ensure that ores/bars as a resource are not devalued? This activity will consume less ores/bars and also reward ore bags, which is odd since Smithing is supposed to sink ore/bars out of the game. Does this go against Smithing's intended design?
Yeah, we're mainly focusing on the rewards rewarding experience rather than just pure profit out of this content. We have the ore pack, which is to offset some of the costs and if you really want you can spend all your money on ore packs to get some of your money back. But it is mostly about experience for those players still on a journey, rather than most maximising money.
Would you consider making the minigame free-to-play? It would be a way to get the ornament kits and gain the smithing experience heaper, without any resource or GP rewards. Given the item sink for low level items and some of the rewards being related to iconic free-to-play items (such as the hill giant club) it could make sense.
We had a focus on the desert this year, as you can see in like the upcoming content. So even though it landed in a free-to-play area, we always designed it to be members' content, and only a couple of elements do stretch over to free-to-play. It's not my decision to like decide whether something's free-to-play or for members'. With the kind of experience we're going for, and the rewards that we're adding and what the content is, we've focused it towards the members from the start.
There seems to be a general opinion that this minigame, while it might be fun, does nothing to address the actual usefulness or application of Smithing as a skill within the game. Do you intend to continue to rework or address this problem with the skill beyond adding a minigame and what are your current thoughts around how you might address the issue?
I think it might help to give some context of where this entire update came from. For this year, myself and Mod Dylan were given two skilling updates that we want to do. The Giants' Foundry is the first, and the small one of the two updates - we were given six weeks to get something out, and Smithing was one of the areas that was lacking in content.
So we were looking at what we could address. Smithing doesn't have a lot of variety in what you can do, whereas Woodcutting kind of does, and Mining has other ways to train it rather than sitting there and mining a rock. We saw Smithing as a good opportunity and a bridge to fill in. With six weeks we can only do so much, but from doing this piece of content we have come up with more ideas on how to actually approach smithing, to give it a proper rework, which is huge!
There's a question after about Mining as well. To address Smithing, you really have to approach Mining at the same time, which would be a quite a chunky update. I'm sure that within the Old School team we will address Smithing and Mining together, as they're two massive problems are in the games, the're just not that great as skills. But that's just not what this project is. We considered it, and when you're doing these kinds of projects you have to consider timescale and everything like that. This is what we could get out within the time limit for for this piece of content.
On the blog it was mentioned that Giantís Foundry being possibly profitable, how much GP/hour can we expect?
Not very high. Mod Kieren says there's a little triangle AFK-ness, profitability and XP, they all have to be in balance. If something's really AFK it shouldn't be that profitable or give that much XP and if the other two bars goes up, the first has to swap out. Our focus is on XP, there are other ways to do Smithing to get gp per hour. We have the resource packs that that offset some of the costs, but it's not going to be amazing gp per hour, just straight up.
Will Giantís Foundry have a reward system similar to Tempoross and Guardians of the Rift?
For every sword you make, you'll be given "giants' reputation" (I think we're calling it). Kovac, who is the giant, will sell you stuff from his shop. What things does he sell? I'll answer in the next question!
Are you considering improving the rewards? At the moment it seems very underwhelming (particularly for mains) and the cost of bars is quite high per hour against simply smithing the bars into alchables. Is there a chance of a Smithing Skilling Outfit? If not, why didnít you want one like other minigames?
So it's not technically a Smithing skilling outfit because it doesn't give you the XP bonus you'd get - we want to save that for something else. It doesn't really make sense to come from the Giants' Foundry because giants aren't great artisans of Smithing, they're just brutes and Kovac stumbled upon this area (you'll find that in the lore I spoke about). But we do have a Smithing outfit we'd like to propose this in the next blog iteration.
The way the the outfit works is for every piece of this armour you wear (it will come in four pieces), you'll get a 10% chance to speed up your Smithing action at an anvil by one game tick. If you're wearing the entire set, it's 100% chance! So right now, smithing darts is a three-tick action. If you're wearing the whole outfit, it goes down to two ticks, right? Which is a pretty decent improvement. If you're doing platebodies, it's not that bad, because you only make like five. If you're doing darts and you have a full inventory, it goes from three ticks down to two. That's the first one we're going to be proposing.
The second one we've got is a bar box, which lets you store 27 bars. It's not going to be very useful somewhere like the Blast Furnace, but when you're spitting out an anvil, you can do like two inventories in one run.
Before I go any further, I'll jump back to the gloves. We're still playing around with the idea but you'll be able to combine the gloves with Ice Gauntlets. You won't lose out on that kind of bonus within the Foundry because I started using them, they're very useful in the Giants' Foundry. The whole outfit also gives you a little bonus in the Giants' Foundry as well.
So we've got the bar box, which lets you store 27 bars. We proposed an ornament kit to Obor's Club, but what we'd like to do is give that some stats. This would make it an upgrade, which turns it into an oversized sword which you're actually making in the Foundry, and puts it above a rune 2-hander. It's not amazing, but it thematically makes sense, so we wanted to chuck that in.
The final one we're going to mention - we're toying with the idea that the smithing catalysts could actually work at the Blast Furnace. For everything you make, the blast furnace already halves the amount of coal required so we're not halving it again. But the catalyst would double the amount of XP given for every runite bar you make, or whatever. This would only be for steel, iron, runite, adamant, mithril.
That's where we're expanding the rewards. I think for most players, the skilling outfit will be the main one, and the barbox potentially. We wanted to something players could sink their teeth into for a fair few hours on launch that aren't there for the experience, because that's aimed towards players who are still on their journey with Smithing. We think this Smithing outfit, which focuses on improving the Smithing process by speeding it up a little bit, will be more enjoyable and more useful than just a 2% flat increase to all XP given, which isn't really that useful post-99. So it's a new approach to an outfit!