Professions or Crafting Skills may be a big mistake

There's some dev feedback about this idea about implementing professions in the game, or crafting skills. I would put forth these might be a bad idea, damaging to the game:

Currently "roles" or "functions" are emerging from the gameplay, and the mood of the players. Want to go sailing? Building an outpost? Re-design your main home? Fight hordes after hordes while your mates mine ore? Do a round of cooking to restock the settlement while talking about the last good show you saw with your friends? All easily possible and accessible. At your whim, you can change what you do. No penalties.

Other games in the past (7 Days to Die being a primed example of this) gamified these "roles" or "professions", giving them skills and talents and feats and so on. But the consequences of killing that emergent gameplay and gating abilities and items behind hours, dozens, hundreds of hours of leveling up is that you can't really change role. The cook of your group has his internet down this week? No advanced food for you. Your team blacksmith is spending the evening with her spouse? No repairing or making advanced specialized armors for the rest of the group that wanted to go out on a raid. And so on.

Which also mean the game becomes hell to scale up and down. Currently you can play solo, or in a group of ten, and there is no major gameplay change. Yes it's faster and easier in a group, resource collecting can be faster, Forsaken are much easier, etc. but fundamentally you play the same game. By gamifying crafting and "roles" and "professions", by codifying them and gating content and item behind high level skills and talents, you can easily make the game either extremely different or even impossible in solo. Or without challenge in group.

I think not doing that was one of the very strong suit of Valheim, and part of its success. Changing "roles" is accessible in all the meaning of the word, people can switch at a whim, can come late into an existing group that has 50 hours of play on them, group can see member stop playing for a while or leave, and no big thing change. That's a very strong quality of the game, that in my opinion would be damaged or destroyed by removing emergent gameplay and gamifying it with numbers.

Obviously some people would mod in different things, deeply altering the game, and that's very fine, that's what mods are for. But for the larger audience, in my opinion the freedom of emergent gameplay is always better.


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