I recently introduced my boyfriend to Stonehearth, and one remark he made about a function he wished he had available to him kind of inspired this:
I’m sure I’m not the only one who ends up queuing up enough bird baths to get every bird in the world their own private pool, just in order to level up my mason’s skills. Which is… sorta fine, it’s trade goods I can then sell. In general, some jobs play nicer with this approach than others.
But when what you really want is just… to get your crafter to Level X already so they can make Y or so that you can promote them to another job, sometimes it’d be nice if they had a little initiative of their own. Thus, the “Hone Your Craft” command.
What I’m envisioning is a lower-priority crafting command where the crafter just kinda… makes something from their available catalog (possibly restricted to recipes using base resources, or resources you have at least some arbitrary minimum number of, so they don’t go using up your gold flakes making random crap or use those last couple of logs you needed for an important project or something) in order to improve their skills. Since it’s not a “commissioned job”, so to speak, they kind of take their sweet time about it (ie either work slower, or tend to wander off to socialize between each item), but over time they build up a stockpile of products to sell and get better at what they do in the process.
This would also help with things like leveling up a second crafter, provided the “Hone Your Craft” job was set on a Hearthling basis rather than a profession/workshop basis, because the higher-level crafter couldn’t swoop in and grab the simple jobs. Plus I’d not feel like such a jerk for flooding the market with bird baths. I’m sure the traders all hate me at this point for making them lug 25 stone bird baths home EVERY TIME THEY VISIT.
Meanwhile, a tip you can use is: do not craft low level items, it gives less experience.
I think a generic “make stuff” command would be good, where they auto-queue a few decorative items every day. Otherwise you’re left with crafters who don’t spend any/much time at their profession unless you happen to be building. A bustling little town doesn’t look or feel right without crafters doing something every day!
But even just a low-EXP “hone craft” command which made them LOOK busy would also achieve the same thing.
Crafting recipe with no input and no actual output was my thought.
Or one with the same output as input. So effectively a carpenter playing with a block of wood or Mason playing with a hunk of stone for a while, lol
I’ve seen this in other games, where they literally “craft” nothing just to gain XP. I think it’d be a great mechanic, even if it gave only marginal XP it would still be a good idea. Stonehearth has always tended to have that “Do X and forget” concept. And this would help that out. Either way, it’s a good idea.
I think this is a simpler alternative to the idea of “apprenticeships” which still gives a nice result and fits intuitively. If they go with the “craft something with no ingredients or products” route, there’s even a nice narrative built-into the action and it’s simple for players to see what they’re doing. I like it!
Currently, I find some classes are easy to level but it takes conscious effort to make sure that they do so efficiently – balancing their build orders with material supply, ensuring that if there are multiple crafters then the right one is doing the right tasks to get the levels (nothing worse than your level 6 mason making all the stone fences that your rookie mason/passionate potter was supposed to complete… this is ascendancy of course), or storing all the items nearby for sale so they don’t make a mess – and other classes are just outright difficult to level up because of the need for scarce materials or high work time… Farmers in particular are really bad IMO (although I do put mostly low Mind score hearthlings as farmers since high Mind hearthlings go into the jobs that won’t be working every day) because even the most basic crops take a while to grow compared to how quickly you can have a carpenter crank out, say, 50 small wooden crates.
I think it’s annoying that farmers only gain exp from harvesting and not tilling/planting. Forcing them to till/plant extra plots that you then remove would be an “abusable” way to level them up (in that it promotes decisions that don’t actually benefit your town at all, aside from the exp for your farmers), but that’s not really any different from this suggestion for crafters. They’re already spending their time doing a job-limited task and not getting any exp for it. Plus, giving them exp for tilling/planting would discourage the currently incentivized practice of only planting a bunch of the same fast-growing crops in order to get to harvest sooner to level up sooner.