I have a pretty hard and fast rule when it comes to MMORPGs; I don’t do trade skills.
Trade skills – or professions, or crafts, or whatever the synonym is for a particular MMO – are often touted as an alternative means of advancing your character in an MMO without all the hassle of killing monsters to do so.
And they are, well, to a point. In general, trade skills involve mass slaughter of monsters who are far too low level to fight back, because you need their body parts to advance your crafting or just because they’re standing between you and a resource node. If you make the argument that crafting is vital to the role playing experience, than what you’re role playing is the medieval analog of the playground bully.
But I digress.
At any rate, trade skills tend to a) suck up your in-game currency to an alarming extent and b) provide you with few benefits, if any, when you’re done. You can, if you’re fast on the draw, make a bit of virtual currency from them in the early days of an MMO, but the profit potential drops off sharply as other people take up the same trade skill and as people discover that monsters tend to have much better loot than you can make for them.
This is not, however, why I don’t do them. The real reason they are strictly verboten is TIME. In most MMOs, making your character into a top-tier crafter takes months and months of beating up the aforementioned weakling monsters and picking up sticks off the ground, and this is time taken directly from the hours you are given for, oh, breathing.
Rift, however, seems to have streamlined everything else, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to see how it did trade skills.
It turns out that mastering a trade skill in Rift takes a couple of nights, at worst, and that mastering a gathering profession takes only slightly more time.
So, while all other complaints hold true – there’s very little demand for crafted goods, and it sucked up a fair amount of the money my character had carefully saved – at least it didn’t take too many of my remaining heartbeats away to accomplish.
So that’s something.