NOTE: If I'm off my rocker here, please tell me. I know I have a tendency to overcomplicate. If anything (or everything) is ungrammared or speled wrong, I’m sorry. I’m bad, and as I don’t think this will go anywhere, I am too lazy to proofread. Please read all the way through if you have the time; I will try not to waste it. Also, please do not dislike or not kudo because you only disagree with a part of this. I know everything in here will probably have some disagreements, but all I am just asking you all to consider the structure and underlying system of this suggestion. Please comment, whether or not you like it.
My suggestion is that we have an under-the-hood overhaul and modification of crafting/resource obtaining to allow more specialization of players with no visible complication.I don't know the technical reality, so this may not be possible. This idea also does not nullify the new weapon modifications system.
I think weapons, tools, ores, crops, etc, should vary more than they currently do. What I mean by this is that right now, if you grow a potato, it is the same potato as every other potato. A potato grown in nurn has the same nutritional value as one grown in the shire, and if made into a baked potato, whether the player has never cooked one before or has cooked thousands, it comes out the same. The same is true for other crops, ores, weapons, etc.
What I am proposing would not change HOW this process occurs or the fundamental nature of the items involved (there wouldn't be multiple types of potatoes or more advanced recipes, to continue with the example), but it would subtly change how well the items work, based on a few under the hood factors.
I suggest these factors include the fertility of the biome where it was grown (each biome would have a general fertility factor (maybe a number between 1 and 10 or 1 and 100 or some other scale) and some would have a bonus for a particular crop (i.e. grapes in Dorwinion)), the skill of the cook (again, two factors, the larger one being the amount of cooking done by the player in general, the second and smaller one being the amount of cooking of the specific food), and perhaps the oven (hobbit ovens are better than furnaces, for example).
These factors have diminishing returns, but they do continue indefinitely. In addition, the hunger system, which uses integers, would not become continuous as that would overcomplicate, so values are rounded. As an example, a player who has cooked 100 items would get an extra point (not bar) of hunger and saturation, 2 points at 1000 items, 3 at 10000, etc. In addition, if the person has cooked 100 potatoes, they would get .5 points, if they cooked 1000, they would get 1 point, and if they had cooked 10000, they would get 1.5 extra points, but keep in mind that I don’t consider these balanced and unchangeable, as I am not good with balancing. That would be better left up to an implementation. Region wise, an area with moderate fertility, such as Eriador, would have no bonus, whereas the shire, with a higher fertility factor, would get (again, just an example) 25% more hunger and saturation, giving it a value of 6.25 (which can round up with other bonuses, of course) hunger, and an area with low fertility, such as the Morgul Vale, would get -50% hunger and saturation value of baked potato, giving potatoes 2.5 hunger points.
These values may seem complicated, but they are hidden to the player and attached to the item. These numbers eventually equal a percentage change of the food that carries over though modification and stacking. If those morgul potatoes are cooked by an experienced player, then the bonus of the player (as a percentage), and the (words fail me) debonus of the Morgul Vale and averaged for a new percentage for the baked potatoes. This percentage is a value of stacks; if 32 125% potatoes are stacked with 32 75% potatoes, you get 100% bonus potatoes. If the potato is crafted in a recipe, whatever percent of the items in the recipe that potato makes up is the percent of the total value of the item that is crafted. I know this isn’t extremely realistic, but it keeps the mechanism in place, and it prevents the need for values for each individual potato.
This applies to weapons and tools as well. For example, if a player is making a Galadhrim sword, the quality of the metal (based on where it was mined, as that will impact its purity and overall quality, unless I am mistaken because I don’t know much about mining, the forge it was smelted on, and possibly the skill of the player smelting it) and the number of times the player has made tools/weapons (and/or the number the player has made swords) and the number of times the player has made Galadhrim swords, create a percentage that adjusts the likelihood of modifiers.
Wood and other crafting materials could also have varying values based on location and maybe even specie, but this should probably be minor, and it should not affect building, just items and tools.
NPCs would still sell stuff and forge weapons, and for their specialization, they should sell items with an above average quality because they theoretically professionally source and/or craft their wares. As experts, they also should be able to gleam the quality of things you sell to them and adjust their offers according to the quality factor.
In addition, if players craft/forge enough of certain item classes, they gain achievements/titles and the ability to see the quality of said items while hovering over them, just like weapon damage values. The achievements/titles might be stuff like “Master Chef” for doing a ton of cooking, “Macro Brewer” for brewing a ton of alcohol, “Arrow Smith” for arrows, and “Master Hobbit” for pipeweed. This allows specialized players to judge the quality of items, and I have some ideas for less advanced players too. There could be items that can appraise value, or maybe traders will inspect items (when you have high alignment with a faction), or maybe you can just see the quality by hovering even as a novice.’
As a general note, novice players shouldn’t notice anything in their game. Values for inexperienced crafters shouldn’t be very different, if different at all, from normal Minecraft, but this would allow more freedom for advanced players.
I think this suggestion will contribute to the game because it allows players to specialize and encourages both npc and player trade in single player and on servers. Minecraft was built so that players could rely completely on their own abilities to do whatever they want so the game wouldn’t be too difficult in single player, but this means there isn’t much of a place for player trading, occupational role playing, or even npc trading, and all these things are completely unnecessary. This is a good and a bad thing because it means that players are free to do whatever they want and can rely on certain item values, but as it restricts the abovementioned things, all of which are desired by some lotr players, it is also harmful. This approach allows players to basically ignore it in singleplayer as there isn’t a penalty for not specializing, or they can engage more with NPC traders to develop a unique playstyle as a hunter, farmer, smith, miner, warrior, etc, without being forced into a specialization or defined occupation like in other roleplaying games, and in multiplayer, they can step up character roleplay and specialize for an impact in pvp, factions and geopolitics, trading, building, etc, or they can continue what they have been doing without issue.
It is true that pvp might be less balanced as advanced players with have better gear and weapons through trading or specializing while early players with less fortune and practice will be worse off, but most servers have factions to supply these players, and I don’t see it becoming less balanced than it already is because as it stands, better players have access to higher quality armor and weapons, along with more skill. The difference would be felt in battles, where units could be equipped with better armor and weapons, factions, where availability to higher quality resources and the skill of specialized players could be used as an advantage to entice new players or capture land, and hunts/combat between advanced players who can now push their gear even further and create more differentiation between each other.
Some may say it is unnecessary since we already have modifications, but these would add to them and create incentive for players to push their use even further, and the landscape already does impact the quantity of ores and the speed of growing crops, but Minecraft is made so that quantity can always be reached by advanced players (it doesn’t matter if you have 12,000 bars of iron or 15,000, really), so quality is the only way to create competition, and in the same goes for coins and trading, for eventually, players can accumulate more than they will ever need, yet they can’t invest it in better stuff.
I know this would require a lot of work to implement, but I don’t see it being resource taxing on the system, and I think it would be worthwhile and unique to the mod.